We see him losing his cash in a low rent poker game in the back of a Chinese restaurant leaving him so broke he has to cadge his breakfast from the local shopkeeper. It’s clear that this is not an unusual event.
It makes it back to his modest apartment and is met by a criminal acquaintance who has let himself in. He has a proposal for Eddie : watch a holdall for him for the six months that he’ll be in prison for and, when he gets out, Eddie will trouser $10k. This seems a mental thing for the friend to ask given Eddie’s gambling addiction is well known, but we need a plot so let’s go with it.
Eddie doesn’t immediately rifle the bag to see what’s in it but after a bit of deliberation he dives in and it’s no surprise to anyone apart from Eddie that it’s full of cash. The amount isn’t spoken but it’s about $100k. It also contains some pretty nasty kidnap tools but that aspect is brushed aside as are any moral questions, never mind the legal ones, about being caught with a bag of contraband.
You can probably guess the rest. Eddie thinks he can dip into the cash and make a profit before returning the stake money ahead of the felon getting out of jail. Initially things go well with Eddie winning $2k which he immediately invests in a night down the pub with his pals. He meets meet Mexican lovely Eva who gives him a sight of what a better life could look like. Before he invests in that there’s more reckless gambling to do and Eddie finds himself $27k in the hole.
With a rare bit of clarity Eddie decides to get his life in order and takes a job with his brother’s landscaping company. The deal is that if Eddie can work for 6 months with no gambling, his debts will be paid. It goes well for a while but when the gangster calls and advises he has been freed early, Eddie has to make some decisions - stick, twist or run away?
This was a decent Netflix offering, starring, written and produced by Jake Johnston. I didn’t know him but he has a decent CV of mainly small roles on TV. Obviously if you make a cheap Netflix film it’s a good chance to show your leading man chops. He does well with a slightly tiresome character who keeps making the same mistakes. It’s hard to root for him when he keeps pissing his cash away but his quest for redemption is well realised and although a bit easy, it’s a fun ride. He’s a bit like a less buff Ant Middleton and is likeable in a ‘glad he’s not my friend’ kind of way.
It must have been a deliberate choice not to show any of the poker hands with only the bets being announced. This is probably so that non-gambling types don’t feel excluded but how many of them are watching a gambling film? It would have been good if the reality of poker was shown, with two deuces beating an Ace high rather that the full house beating the flush that poker films usually show, but it probably helps the editing if we don’t see the cards on the table.
The love interest was well played by Aislinn Derbez and she must have had good chat as our man had to wait weeks before sealing the deal!
I liked the captions showing the money ups and downs but they didn’t appear after every win or set back which grated a little. The supports were good with the brother and the gamblers’ anonymous sponsor both being in the ‘I know his face’ category. The sponsor was the worst ever, suggesting a game our man could play in when the money started to run dry.
The film has a ‘cinema verite’ style which is probably meant to look gritty and realistic but it just looked like they were filming some scenes in a boat as the characters bobbled about on the screen. It was obviously low budget but how much is a tripod?
The running time was less than 90 minutes - even if you include the mid credits sequence- so it doesn’t outstay its welcome. Some of the gambling behaviours were well observed and it was a million miles for the glitz of Vegas or even The House.
Best Bit : We’ve got an hour… W Rating 16/23