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Drama - Crime

Shade (2003)

Duration1h 41m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Spain: 13
Source of storyAn original screenplay
DirectorDamian Nieman
Writers/ScriptDamian Nieman
StarringThandi Newton, Gabriel Byrne, Jamie Foxx, Stuart Townsend, Sylvester Stallone, Melanie Griffith, Hal Holbrook,
RatingsIMDb: 6.3/10 by 13,000 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 67% by 15 reviewers. Review2view: 4/10.

Summary: This is a film about people being swindled in poker games. The main players are Vernon, a croupier and card sharp, Charlie a nightclub owner, and Tiffany the girlfriend of both at different times. They are all confidence tricksters. In the movie their first target is Larry, who in a fixed card game they swindle out of $100,00 which actually belongs to a crime boss, Max Melini, and as a result Larry is killed. Malini’s men track down Charlie and threaten him, so he agreed to pay back the $100, 000, with some of the proceeds of their next job which involved a legendary player Dean Stevens. In this game, which also involves Melini, Vernon plays and when they go “all in” at the end of the game, Charlie and Tiffany put in their money in support of Vernon, who they think will beat Stevens. But will he?

Content: There is some female nudity and sexy dancing in a nightclub, but no actual sex. We see Dean Stevens as a young man in a legendary game where everyone but him is shot dead. The various card games take place and take a long time, where scams have taken place the means by which this has been done are revealed. There are a few gunfights. Tiffany is a surprisingly good shot. The Dean meets with  former girlfriend and she accompanies him to his card games.

This film cost about $10 million and returned about $500,000 at the box office. The director is apparently a skilled manipulator of playing cards. The focus on poker games give it a very narrow level of interest. There is a lot of what I call “Infill” scenes which do not have much bearing on the plot, and even some pointless characters, and in some cases the scams seem to be ridiculously elaborate for a limited return. So unless you are a poker enthusiast this is not a watch even for nothing.

Gabriel Byrne has a considerable body of work out there. Three of his more notable films which have been reviewed on this site are: Stigmata, Hereditary and End of Days.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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