A loudmouthed cardsharp holds an ace in reserve over a young recruit, who volunteers for a dangerous recon in his stead. Corporal Jackson the older man, bitterly resents Caje being named ... See full summary »
FantasticFest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and action movies from all around the world. Here's a list of some of our favorite movies at FantasticFest.
A loudmouthed cardsharp holds an ace in reserve over a young recruit, who volunteers for a dangerous recon in his stead. Corporal Jackson the older man, bitterly resents Caje being named temporary leader of Jackson's squad, after Sgt. Saunders sees how the Corporal lords it over the young Private Tommy. While Tommy slogs through a heavy downpour toward a German machine gun nest, Jackson in the comfort of a château, tries to wipe out the other poker players, plus sway them to his jaundiced view of the situation. Written by
"Losers Cry Deal" is a story about a big shot cut down to size. After a lengthy combat skirmish, White Rook and another squad from the same platoon take over a large château and make it their operations base.
Private Jackson (superbly played by Mike Kellin) feels he is next in command after his sergeant is killed while taking the château. Lieutenant Hanley allows Saunders to pick a temporary lead to take over Sergeant Slocumb's squad until a new sergeant can be called up. And it's not Jackson, who thinks he's heaven's gift to soldiering. When Saunders puts Caje in charge, Jackson relentlessly mocks their judgment. In mitigation, Jackson emphatically makes the point "in this war it's not what you know but who you know that counts."
When Jackson is picked for an extremely dangerous recon mission, he asks Private Thomas to go in his place. Caje accepts the change not realizing there's more to it than meets the eye.
Shirl Hendryx wrote a fine screen play; character development in a non-combat environment is excellent. Morrow, Kellin, and Jalbert turn in strong performances supplemented by the rest of the squads. The story flows very smoothly and reminds the viewing audience of times in their lives when they were backed into a corner and gained a sense of humility.
The ending is beautifully done with memorable exchanges between Caje, Jackson, and Saunders, a personification of the expression "emotional scars do not heel."
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