The premise of Poker is deceptively simple: a group of friends gets together for a weekly game of five card stud, and over the course of the film it is revealed that one of the players (played by Darrow Carson)is dying of cancer. In lesser hands, this conceit could have made the film merely maudlin, but screenwriter Rebecca Gray's well-rendered, three-dimensional characters are engaging, their wit oddly sparkling. Poker is a delight to look at as well, thanks to Bryn Pryor's direction. This film is uncommonly intelligent and stirring.
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