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MPAA Rating: R for language, violence and sexuality/nudity
not reviewed
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Drama, Thriller
1 hr. 41 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
Copyright, RKO Pictures
Copyright, RKO Pictures
Copyright, RKO Pictures
Copyright, RKO Pictures
Copyright, RKO Pictures
Featuring: Gabriel Byrne, Thandie Newton, Sylvester Stallone, Stuart Townsend, Patrick Bauchau
Director: Damian Nieman
Producer: Merv Griffin, Chris Hammond, Ted Hartley, Bo Hopkins, Carl Mazzocone, Mark Moran, Joe Nicolo, David Schnepp, Stephen Stone
Distributor: RKO Pictures

“Look Deeper.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “In the shady atmosphere of an underground gambling club, LA’s card sharks come out to play. Deception and trickery is the only rule in a game where nothing is as it seems, and everyone has a poker face. The hustlers get hustled, and a fortune rests on every deal.

In the magic hour on a desert highway, a black speedster races towards the shimmering lights of the City of Angels. The driver’s hand effortlessly holds and cuts a deck of cards over and over; a magician performing his tricks. This is VERNON. The card mechanic.

Vernon’s old flame TIFFANY is the kind of woman who will cut out a man’s heart if it will earn her a fast buck. Her fellow conman-in-crime MILLER shoots for any deal that has a payout; be it a petty hustle or a sophisticated scam.

This is a hard-edged crew with a common goal: to beat the ultimate card mechanic—THE DEAN—a man for whom players will drop their entire bankroll, just to say that they have taken a seat at his table. But The Dean’s table doesn’t come cheap. Vernon needs a hundred grand to buy his way in; small change to the high rollers that play in this hand. His particular line of credit comes in the form of a fixed poker game and a greedy card player named JENNINGS. Tempted by the lure of an “unbeatable” hand and a dealer that is seemingly on his side, Jennings unwittingly drops a bundle.

However, in the illusory world of underground gaming, nothing is as it seems. Although clever with the cards, Jennings is foolish enough to play with someone else’s cash. Suddenly the crew is being pursued by dangerous thugs; a vengeful gangster wants his money back.

Copyright, RKO PicturesTo further complicate matters, Tiffany and Miller have personal agendas of their own. Miller is planning a future with Tiffany, but she still carries a torch for Vernon, and has her own ideas for pushing Miller swiftly out of the picture.

Vernon is however, the true master of deception, and he pulls a magnificent double-cross on them both. Far from trying to steal The Dean’s crown, Vernon has been in cahoots with him all along. Is the loser actually the loser, or is it just another maneuver in the mechanic’s master scam?”

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Movie Critics
…surprisingly entertaining… provides an enjoyable walk on the wild side with con artists and shadowy gamblers…
—Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
…terrifically bad movie…
—LA Weekly
…C+… gambling is dramatic …not the relationship stuff, which is a bust…
—E! Online
…the structure of the film, rather than enhancing the atmosphere, ends up as too much of a jumble…
—Bridget Byrne, Boxoffice Magazine