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A climatic beginning, leaving the user wanting more
Leading in from a very simple beginning, the movie climaxes early, leading the viewer wishing more at the end. The plot is simple: a gambler who is well-skilled in the card trade owes people in authority, and leaves his country to win the money. Arriving in a small Russian town, he tries to show off his tricks to the local card swindlers but is caught and ends up agreeing to a friendship and a cooperation. It is hard not to find oneself liking the gallant Italian.
Unfortunately, that is the end of real card tricks. What follows is a mayhem of fun masking trickery to get people to agree to sit down and play cards. The games being played lead the simple, yet arrogant foreigner to himself believe in the easiness and sureness of his success. To the viewer, all this grandness, or lack thereof, fails to mask the danger that is just around the corner.
Not badly shot, and with some truth behind the life in small town Russian Empire, the movie does show some aspects of an era bygone. This definitely is not the Russia that one can find today. Yet, the movie has nothing to irk an audience's interest. At best, this is a movie to be enjoyed when one is looking for simple entertainment.
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