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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

betrayal and intrigue

Author: ntsci from canada
14 May 2004

Previous comments seem to be either one of extreme hate or pleasure. I find the extremes fascinating. I think this movie was average. Not great, but worthwhile watching. One that you need to watch twice to get the point. I found no part of it boring. The use of poker in the title has to do with the bluffing, faking, lying and not showing all of ones cards.

On the whole it is much better in terms of the story than most action films.

If plots making sense was a requirement for a good movie, then I guess there are very very few movies worth watching. The plot for example of Master and Commander, a movie I really enjoyed, was based on an absurd disregard for the navel power situation in 1805 wherein Britian had obtained complete mastery over the oceans (e.g., Battle of the Nile, 1803). So why should we attack Four Dogs for a gimmicky premise. Name a movie that doesn't involve some gimmick or suspension of disbelief to get the ball rolling.

To me the only unexplained part is why the bad guy wants a million from them, but that might also be part of the double crossing.

In Four Dogs, the fact that so called friends agree so easily to kill one another was one of the points -- their friendship wasn't worth a half million. It must also be kept in mind that they were being manipulating into agreeing with the idea and it was done so subtly that it is not until you see the movie for the second time that you can see the manipulations that are going one. There's actually a lot of subtly in the movie. But also notice how several members of the group were all prepared to double cross the rest. The main double crosser however did give at least one of them a chance.

It is very doubtful that the insurance scam idea would work, but the main characters didn't clue into the main problem with it -- back dating the payments on the policies -- thats a whole lotta fraud. But its a mute point, there is never any mention at the end of the film about cashing the policies in! Suggesting that the whole insurance scam was part of the doublecrossing plots and a bluff. It isn't important how fast the money will be paid out, whats important is that they players in this high stakes game, think that cashing in the policy on one of them, will save the rest.

The fact that the ships crew had a Mexican accent (I'm assuming that the Argentinian commentator meant accent, not language, cause the language is the same), isn't that surprising since the ship has an English name and is headed toward Los Angeles (home of a very large Mexican population) -- so its more likely to have a Mexican speaking crew than an Argentinian crew.

The whys or practicalities of the movies aren't really the main issues. The most interesting part of the movie is the crisis, the cut throat solution they come up with, how they are manipulated into the solution, and how the solution unravels (as planned).

There a very interesting thing going on when one of the characters asks another if he could really kill her.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Smart cross between "Usual Suspects" and "Shallow Grave". Two thumbs way up!

10/10
Author: Movieguy-53
4 June 2000

I got to see a test screening of the film noir `Four Dogs Playing Poker' and I was blown away. It was awesome. The director was able to spin a sensational story about a group of friends who, after participating in a heist gone awry, are forced to ante up with their lives and participate in a deadly game to correct their mistake. Even though this sounds cool, trust me – the film is cooler. My little description does not do the film justice! This movie would be best described a sophisticated cross between `The Usual Suspects' and `Shallow Grave'. And from the opening scene in an Argentina, I was immediately hooked. In fact, I sat on the edge of my seat (literally) until the film was over – my palms were sweating. When I was told the film was over 90 minutes, I couldn't believe it!

Forest Whitaker, who plays a dangerous art dealer named Mr. Ellington, was truly intimidating - the filmmakers really captured Forest's dark side. Also, it was great to see Tim Curry finally sink his teeth into a serious role. He was terrific as Felix, the shady ‘snake-in-the-grass' mentor to the four main characters. Olivia Williams (`The Sixth Sense', `Rushmore') is great as Audrey. After watching her performances in `Rushmore', `Sixth Sense' and `Four Dogs Playing Poker', I have no doubts that Olivia will become a household name on par with the likes of Bridgette Fonda, Patricia Arquette and Angelina Jolie. Balthazar Getty (`The Lost Highway') plays his macho but confused character perfectly and with a healthy dose of charisma. I have always been a big fan of Balthazar's – he looks great on film. Stacy Edwards (`In the Company of Men', `Primary Colors') portrays her character perfectly as an innocent ‘tough girl'. Stacy's strong performance imbues the down and out group with a requisite touch of humanity. Watching Daniel London (`Patch Adams') is a real treat. His character, a paranoid druggie, is just as hilarious and he is unpredictable and dangerous. Daniel does a good job providing much of the comic relief in the film. Everyone in the theater was laughing at his antics! There were also some great scenes where Steve Jones, former guitarist from the Sex Pistols, and John Taylor, former bass from Duran Duran, get to strut their acting chops as Mr. Ellington's henchmen. George Lazenby (James Bond from `On Her Majesty's Secret Service') also makes an appearance – and in a Bond-esque tuxedo no less!

All in all `Four Dogs Playing Poker' a fresh and exciting entry onto a tired landscape of today's cinema. I will be very excited to drag my friends to the theaters to watch it again!

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Good premise, poorly done

5/10
Author: Blockmary from Midwest
15 June 2003

**SPIOLERS WITHIN**

Four Dogs Playing Poker had a very good premise. Unfortunately, the plot gaps kill the movie. The following are issues I had with the movie:

1. In a game of life or death, they let one person go into the bank to place the life insurance policies in the safe deposit boxes. Ultimately, this leads to the demise of the other characters. Are you kidding me?? Gee, you think she might cheat the other people and save her own life?? Surely not. Lets trust her to go in alone.

2. There is no way they could have collected on life insurance policies that quickly, especially in a situation as suspicious as it would have been.

3. Incriminating messages are left on various answering machines. These people are apparently not too bright.

I will stop at this point, although I could go on forever. The acting was mediocre AT BEST. A couple of scenes were really corny, including the leaping between buildings and the woman falling off the ladder. If you are looking for a movie that is realistic, this is absolutely not it.

5 out of 10.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

No ace, more a joker.

Author: sibisi73 from United Kingdom
27 December 2001

A stylish thriller, with one major let-down: the whole premise is just so unbelievable that you really need to be able to suspend your disbelief for this one.

Four young art thieves, and their mentor (a surprisingly good, but underused Tim Curry), steal a priceless statue from an Argentinian millionaire, (a surprisingly good, but underused ex-James Bond, George Lazenby!) and ship it back to the States on a cargo ship. Recipient of the said statue hears that it isn't on the ship, and promises to kill all five if it isn't delivered - or make them pay $1 million. So, what would you do? Wait and see if it turns up, do a runner and leave the country? Or build up some elaborate insurance scam whereby one of you has to kill another one, so the rest of the gang can claim $1 million insurance? They opt for the latter, and all reality goes out of the window. It's a shame, because the four 'friends' are good together, and there are some genuine thrilling moments. Its pretensions to film noir are justified an only a few occasions, and the 'twist' ending doesn't really make up for the plotholes.

That said, certainly worth a look.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Good idea. NOT the worst movie in the world. Worth a watch.

Author: HellBoy13 from NYC
4 October 2004

What's the concept behind the painting "Four Dogs Playing Poker"? Poker is a game of luck, but winning involves bluffing, lying, and aggressiveness. Dogs think they can handle these human traits, but they're just dogs. Predictable. Emotional. Easy tells.

This movie is about four childhood friends who are all in danger of dying.

To save themselves, they concoct a scheme to sacrifice one of them for the sake of the others. But they want to keep things anonymous to alleviate guilt, and that's where they stop trusting each other. Like four dogs playing poker, trying to figure out the other dogs' motives, not knowing who to trust...

The details sometimes fall by the wayside in order to set up this very interesting idea, but I found the story itself to be gripping. I had to watch the whole thing to see what happened.

Can you trust YOUR childhood friends if all your lives were on the line?

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Nice to know who your friends are.

7/10
Author: aramo1 from Ireland
27 January 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Based on R2 CD

Clever little story that begins with art heist and ends with twist, along the way it touches on love, friendship and betrayal. The four lead characters turn in decent performances with Balthazar Getty (Julian) being perhaps the strongest. Forest Whitaker is very good as the 'ruthless not cheap' Mr. Ellington.

Avoid spoilers, the twist is worth the wait.

7/10 well worth watching.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Loved It!

10/10
Author: Roger Kendall from Chatham, New Jersey
5 September 2000

Saw this movie in Cannes. It's really great! The acting was riveting, the plot was very exciting and the movie moved along really fast. It's much better than a lot of the trash that's out there today. I look forward to seeing it in theaters.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Perfect for rainy nights!

10/10
Author: wolfy_the_black from New Jersey
18 January 2004

I just happened to stumble upon this movie one day after class, and was immediately captured by it. The storyline was intriguing, the actors were suburb, and the ending surprised me. Now whenever I catch it on TV again, I have to watch it! A prefect movie for when you're bored.

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5 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

could have been a lot better

5/10
Author: Mickey Knox (alwaysmetallica@k.ro) from Brasov, Romania
13 April 2002

The idea of this movie is brilliant and it could have led the script towards a totally different perspective of the action. Although some scenes are obviously forced, and higly unlikely, the movie captures you till the end. The dilema, the game to decide the killer and the victim, could have provided much more psychological moments than it actually does, and that would have made the movie better. Unfortunately, after the middle of the film, it becomes a simple action movie with simple and way too predictable events. All in all, a good idea, a nice watch, but it's a pity - it could have been great. Vote: 5 out of 10.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Surprsingly amusing

6/10
Author: ruud-35 from Netherlands
26 January 2008

I bought this DVD for 2 euro 90 at a gas station. So my expectations where not that high. When i buy a movie like this with some famous actors, I don't expect it to be good, but you never know. Am i watching a mistake of a famous actor. I really love Forest Whittaker, and after watching the movie nothing is changed about that. He probably red the script and saw the possibilities. Anyway Looking from this angle, i always expect to stop halfway the DVD and continue doing something else. Because the price was so cheap, that there would be no other option than a bad movie This movie is indeed not fantastic, the acting is poor and over the top, but it is a movie which keeps you watching. In fact i felt some fear watching the end. So my 2 euro 90 where well spent. But i do agree that the end result could have been much better. Intriguing movie, not very well done, but amusing and worth watching! I still try to understand if i understood the whole movie. But who cares for 2 euro 90

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