What happens when a small time drug
dealer goes behind his employer's back to make some extra money? When your boss
is Mr. Trent, it's never good.
Written By: Paul McGowan/Mike Clarke
Directed By: Mike Clarke
A hand to play. Sounds like a short on gambling. And in a sense, it is. However, I just gotta say that this would be one Casino I'd want to steer clear of, and one hell of a dirty roll of the dice, so to speak. But what are my thoughts on this 12 minute gem? Read on.
The story here revolves not around casino style gambling, but what happens when you gamble on a persons drive to maintain a reputation. And just like in real life, the end result is often not how you hoped it would be. When watching this short, I had a pretty good idea of where it was going and what was going to happen. Nothing really new here. But it was done well. The pacing was perfect, the angles were great and the acting was top notch. Then again, I wouldn't have expected anything less from screen veteran Doug Bradley. And yes, I hate to write it because Mr. Bradley is probably so damn sick of hearing it, but I am an older dude, and a huge fan of horror flicks. Needless to say, I love the Hellraiser films. That being said, I'm trying to keep my scoring of this short objective, but it's hard. Anyhow, onward. Mr. Bradley did a fantastic job. And Phil Gwilliam, opposite did just as great a job in the supporting role. (Big props to the thugs as well, who gave the perfect 'Thug-ish' glances throughout). The two actors played off each other perfectly, and although the majority of this short takes place at a table, it never get's boring. In the industry of making moving pictures, the stronger the actors the better the result. And since I gave this short a high rating, you, the reader can do the math.
The production value of A Hand To Play seemed quite high. But it's hard to tell now days with the line between Independent and HollyWood blurring so badly. So let's just say that this short looks and plays great! Nice images, some fitting camerawork and a solid edit. Topping everything off is some nice, crisp audio and an interesting color choice for the overall piece. Some really nice work indeed! Thumbs up to both the cast and post crew!
Overall, the story itself isn't a new one, but written well. Add to that some great acting and great pacing and you've got yourself a winning hand every time! This short film does just what you hope it will. A Hand To Play will entertain and maybe even make you wince a little. And you'll be glad you were a 'Fly on the wall' this time.
For me, this short scores a solid and well deserved 4.5 / 5
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