“Maximize your wins, minimize your losses… and stay in the game as long as you can.”


Russell Crowe may have been considering his own mortality as he wrote and directed this pondorously morose thriller, but that does not justify wasting an hour and a half of my life with his insipid pseudo-intellectual blathering. The premise of a tech billionaire gathering together his childhood friends for a game whilst harbouring some ulterior motive bears such a striking resemblance to Glass Onion that it serves to demonstrate just how entertaining the concept was in Rian Johnson’s hands and how flaccid the entire affair feels here. Poker Face has a pretentious film student’s air of shallow artistry, indulging in basic techniques like cutting conspicuously from a man’s death to a folding hand of cards. Aaron McLisky’s cinematography occasionally adds a little character, which is more than can be said for the cast — it is impossible to see why any of these “friends” care about each other at all. Mortality can be a fascinating subject when addressed well, but Poker Face left me reaching straight for the flush.