Short overview is simple - police are forced to play online poker to save the lives of kidnapped women.
Shortest synopsis I've ever written on here.
Because this film would have made an OK 20 minute short, but it makes a painfully slow feature film. I had a brief moment of excitement when the lead female detective introduced herself. I thought she said that her name was Det. Anna Manni - the lead from The Stendhal Syndrome. I thought, "Oh cool - this is like her life before the other film. That's neat." But, no....it was Marri, not Manni. And I continued to watch even more deflated than I was before. hehehehe
The police playing cards against the killer was interesting for a moment. They set up the basis rather well and the technology behind it seems reasonable and doable, which made the scenario believable. However, after the first time or two, it gets stale quickly. There is a sense of tension that I appreciated - the police forced to watch the victim die if they don't win the three hands of cards. The tiny window on the computer screen focused on the victim's face as they play to the right of it. I could almost see Dario planning it all out in his head and it sounding like an awesome idea. It's almost a pre-visualization of the SAW movies, really. But, it's not interesting for a full film.
Interesting too - this film came out in Italy in January of 2004 and SAW came out here in the States in October of the same year. The only thing that's really the same here, however, is playing a game for a life. There are no complex traps or things of that nature in here.
The other sad part of the whole of it is that the story itself isn't fleshed out well, so we're forced to watch as police mill about waiting for the killer to strike again as as they do autopsies and find strange, giallo-style clues that...honestly...we don't really care about.
On a positive note...uh...oh! The dead bodies in here are really gross and amazing looking. Some top notch special effects work. They are like large, nasty looking PRACTICAL dummies. I appreciated that.
I'll end this here. :::sigh:::
I was glad I saw this film to complete my DARIO ARGENTO catalog, but I won't revisit it again.