Thursday, December 20, 2007


Sometimes I stumble across a movie that I hadn’t heard of that turns out to be a pretty decent little film. Shade (2003) was released in a few theatres then went to cable and now DVD. I am surprised that it didn’t receive a wider release and more press.
The story centers around three grifters played by Stuart Townsend (a master card mechanic), Gabriel Byrne, and Thandie Newton. They used to be partners in the con-game racket until they had a falling out. They have reunited to take down the reigning king of poker players (and card mechanics) the “Dean” Stevens played, very coolly, by Sylvester Stallone, who plans on retiring after this final game.
The less you know going into the movie the better. It is part young talented newcomer wants to beat the old pro and part how do con artists work their trade storylines. It was written and directed by first-timer Damian Nieman who is a card magician. In supporting roles many well-known faces pop up such as Jamie Foxx, Michael Dorn, Bo Hopkins, Hal Holbrook, and the lovely Melanie Griffith as the “Dean” Stevens’ love interest. There are several twists and turns in the story and I’ll have to say a few caught me by surprise. I liked that. Especially when I usually spot the “big” surprise coming from a mile off or the “twist” turns out to be a really lame surprise like in The Usual Suspects or Unbreakable.
If you like film noir and films like The Hustler, The Sting, Big Hand for a Little Lady, and Paper Moon, check this movie out. You’ll enjoy the experience. P.S. -- "Shade" is the term for a diversion that focuses people in another direction other than looking at the con artist.

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