Brian O'Hare + Timothy Rhys
Is high-stakes poker a metaphor for the American Dream? A bi-coastal couple, Susan and Tim, carry their independent film company and four-year-old son on an eight month ride through the world of tournament poker. Their plan: Play in six high-stakes poker tournaments. Win some money. Document their journey. Save their company. Business and formerly romantic partners, Susan and Tim often disagree. Susan is a self-directed, high energy gambler who has won poker tournaments before. Tim is her sensible but anxious mate and often her unwanted conscience. No Limit takes us through the highs and lows of their quest. Along the way, we get to meet the peculiar players from around the globe who populate the poker world and hear their thoughts on poker's connection to the American dream. They are, by turns, passionate, overwrought, insightful and absurd. None are boring, and many have become superstars in their sport. Primarily, they speak to the virtues of both risk taking and a psychological understanding of other people. As Mirage Resorts' CEO Bobby Baldwin states, "you can't play business defensively; you can't have a relationship defensively. It's about offense." None of the players are very offensive, rather they're a surprisingly articulate, multi-ethnic set of individuals, admirably determined to follow their own path. At the same time, they follow strict, sometimes amusing poker social conventions. Their colorful interviews are the heart of the movie. As Susan struggles to scoop a jackpot, we also see the effect the poker tour is having on her relationships, both with Tim and their son. Clearly, poker moms are not like soccer moms. While exploring themes of greed, addiction, individualism, talent and freedom, Tim and Susan have made an entertaining documentary, guiding us through an offbeat world few of us will enter. Is there a happy ending? This is about the American Dream, after all...
DVD Release: October 10th, 2006
DVD Review: Taking a Shot - Region 0 - NTSC
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|Distribution||Taking a Shot, LLC - Region 0 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 6.6 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
|Subtitles||None (But burned-in subs are used when audio is very weak or off-camera)|
As a neophyte poker player who has gotten lucky and won a couple of tournaments I was very keen to watch this DVD based on its description. It reminded me of Anthony Holden's book - Big Deal: One Year as a Professional Poker Player. An amateur enthusiast with a little bit going for them trying their hand at the professional level. I was quite fascinated through the entire 1.5 hours. A honest premise that did not simply seem to be capitalizing on the current poker craze - although I'll wager that it did boost sales. I was saddened at times when the dream eventually reached its conclusion - but the philosophical message imparted by many of the pros really hits home. To them the game has become second nature and much more simplified but it is advantageous for the poker community to sustain the belief that 'anyone can win' the big tournament - but just as truthfully - so can anyone win the lottery. This message is subtly conveyed and the poker world is not slammed with negativity. A lot of state-of-mind philosophy and personal vision is shared. Surprisingly our protagonist in this film does come out ahead, but she (and we) have learned some lessons along the way.
This DVD looked great on my plasma system although it does exhibit combing (non-progressive) - obviously the source was digital without bumping to 'film' first - hence this is its native appearance. It looked amazingly sharp for the majority of the film. Audio had its inherent weaknesses, as one might expect with an indie-level production, but this was ingeniously rectified with subtitles for the, infrequent, off-camera dialogue - a great idea. There are no extras and the price is a bit steep but if you are keen on poker then it is definitely worth a spin or two.