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21 November 2010 (Switzerland)  »

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10: La serie  »

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A gripping drama set around a poker table
12 February 2016 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This Swiss drama is set in Geneva where Vincent Torrela has arranged a high-stakes illegal poker game. At stake is almost half a million Swiss francs… and many secrets. It soon becomes obvious that there is more to this than a mere game; Vincent has stolen the money which the players believe is in a case dropped into a large fish tank and the room contains many hidden cameras that have been planted by Vincent on orders from the police who are expecting the game to be used as a cover to pass secrets to a Chinese diplomat. They have no idea who will be passing the secrets; it could be anybody; the woman who doesn't appear to care if she wins or loses, the known criminal, the mystery man wearing a hoodie and sunglasses, the woman who had contact with dubious groups in her youth or possibly one of the others… there is also an undercover cop in the mix. Intertwined with scenes from the game we see the police watching them and flashbacks which show us more about the players and their reasons for joining the game.

Not playing poker I wasn't sure that I'd enjoy this series; I needn't have worried as the day is just a device to bring ten rather different people together in a room in a high pressure situation. The tensions start almost as soon as the players sit down as Eldin, a bullying crook, starts to goad Manuel, a man with a stutter. Things get more interesting at the end of the first episode when we learn that the police have taken an interest in the game. The way we gradually learn more about the players through a series of flashbacks makes them more interesting. As the series approaches its finale things get even better as police come closer to learning who the traitor is. Setting most of the series in a single room gives a good claustrophobic feel which is added to by the way it is filmed; there is a blue/green tint that takes most of the colour out of what we see. The cast do a fine job making their characters believable. Overall this proved to be a gripping drama; as each half hour episode came to an end I was keen to see what would happen next.

These comments are based on watching the series in French with English subtitles.


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