|In Stores | Top Sales | Index | DVD/Movie Archive|
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
For language, sexual content and brief drug use
Burt Reynolds, Charles Durning, Bret Harrison, Gary Grubbs, Shannon Elizabeth, Jennifer Tilly, Maria Mason
Gil Cates Jr., Mark Weinstock
Gil Cates Jr.
Set against the world of high stakes poker, DEAL follows the story of Tommy Vinson, an ex-gambler who quit the game of Texas Hold'em over 30 years ago after missing a family emergency and swearing to his wife, Helen, "never again". Tommy tries to be content with his luggage business but while watching a poker tournament on television, he sees someone who reminds him of his younger self, Alex Stillman.
Deal (2008) | Review
What's in Your Hand?
As the movie begins, we meet the young man who is about to join this world. Like Chris Moneymaker, the online poker champ turned Texas Hold 'em tournament regular, and Joe Bartholdi, the 26-year-old who won the World Series of Poker in 2006, Alex Stillman (Bret Harrison) is a young man with an unusual talent for cards that lands him in the big leagues just months after he graduates college. Although he loses his first tournament, he catches the attention of everyone watching, including retired poker legend Tommy Vinson (Burt Reynolds). After going from big winner to big loser twenty years before, Tommy had promised his wife he would never play cards again, and he hasn't. But after Tommy sees Alex on TV and runs into him at a local casino, he can't resist the urge to take the young man under his wing and teach him how to really play the game.
And it is from there that the story of the hotshot student and his old school teacher begins. Since Alex already has a clear understanding of the odds and numbers that Texas Hold 'em is all about, the movie does not deal with the mechanics or rules of the game at all. As such, if you are not a poker player yourself and decide to go see the movie, I highly suggest you take a few minutes to learn how the game is played before you watch. I didn't, and with much of the movie's suspense resting on that knowledge, I was completely out of the loop almost every time the cards hit the table.
But although much of the movie is about Texas Hold 'em, as Tommy tells Alex, the game of poker is about more than just the cards, and so is the movie. Most of what Tommy teaches Alex is about the players who hold the cards. "You don't play the cards," Tommy tells Alex. "You play the players." Whether you win or not does not just depend on how good your hand is, but on how good it is in comparison to the other hands at the table. As Tommy shows Alex, poker is about reading the other players. It is about figuring out their "tell." It is about knowing when they are bluffing. And it is about using that knowledge to bring them down.
Not only a game of logic and luck, poker is a lying game. Although it is your hand that will determine the win any time you actually have to show your cards, your ability to conceal disappointment or portray false confidence may win the pot simply because of what other players believe you hold. As Tommy tells Alex, putting that into practice in a few other areas of life might do him some good. But as the story shows us, although bluffing may win at the card tables and score well on a first date, in a real world where every relationship will eventually demand that we show our cards, lying will always cause us to lose.
Continue: 1 2
Copyright © 2008 Hollywood Jesus. All rights reserved.
Home | Movies | DVDs | Music | Books | Comix | TV | Games | Sports | HJ Live! | Terms & Conditions | Privacy | Contact Us | Subscribe | Donate