Movie: Movies about casino robberies and scams tend to be big budget, high dollar movies when made in Hollywood. That's okay but kind of limiting since they have a tendency to be more about a roller coaster ride than about a carefully constructed plot that holds your interest. So when looking for a movie to watch, you have to ask yourself if you want something a bit more personal or just eye candy. Neither is necessarily better than the other (I like both when the mood strikes me) but when you're in the market for something a bit more "real", you might want to check out a newly released movie from Greece, Ghost of a Chance (Eonios Fittis).
Released on dvd by the folks at Vanguard, it details the life of a guy named Takis, a medical student who is not above enhancing his chances using whatever means he can. In short, he has no problem with cheating. He makes a living playing roulette for small stakes, working angles in school (until he's caught cheating during a test). He sees a big stakes player using his numbers and decides to work with him after a confrontation. The man is a compulsive gambler but also a Union leader and candidate for political office. He needs Takis to play for him since his daughter started working at the casino and they won't let family members play. Takis falls for the daughter and the two come up with a scheme to really take the casino for a lot of money. Upon winning big, the couple try to bolt but the casino boss sends out his goons to get the money back. It ended on a bittersweet, but fitting, note.
Picture: The movie was presented in what appeared to be1.66:1 ratio widescreen color. It definitely had that low budget, indie look to it but the story was good enough to distract me from worrying about the minor flaws such as the slightly blurred picture (at times) and muted colors.
Sound: The sound was presented in what seemed like mono (if it was true stereo, there was very little separation) but again, it was not distracting from the movie. I can't say that I've watched many movies in Greek with English subtitles but they seemed easy to read-my complaint would be that they weren't timed quite right (sometimes the words would appear before being spoken).
Final Thoughts: When the film made it's American debut last month at the Houston Worldfest Film Festival, I didn't get a chance to see it but it was received quite well. I liked the movie for all it's technical limitations and the performers seemed right at home in their respective roles here. I will be looking forward to future works by Director/Writer Vangelis Seitanidis and hope this debut film of his is indicative of his talent. I'm suggesting it as a Rental for most although I liked it enough that it's easily a keeper.