13 April 2015 | TheLittleSongbird
The title and premise fare better than the film itself
With such a great title and the premise while a little far-fetched being also brilliant, Four Dogs Playing could have been a very good film. Instead for me it had its fair share of good things but fell short, being a moderately entertaining film at most.
Four Dogs Playing Poker is stylishly made, looking every bit the brooding thriller type of film, complete with atmospheric and not too dim lighting and settings that suit the film well. It's competently directed, the music does have intensity and the story while less than perfect is a lot of time diverting and not too dull. Another thing Four Dogs Playing Poker does well is that it has a fun cast, with the high points being Tim Curry, who's excellent(if very underused) in a more serious role than usual, and an intimidating Forrest Whittaker. Olivia Williams brings a variety of emotions to her role and Balthazar Getty is very charismatic in his.
Sadly, Four Dogs Playing Poker does come up short in other areas. The script is quite weak, being rather underdeveloped and sometimes confused, leaving more questions than answers with some "comedy" parts instead feeling flat and misplaced. Despite the cast giving their all the film does a not particularly good job making their characters interesting, with almost all of them being one-dimensional and clichéd and the most experienced cast members(i.e. Curry) not being in long enough). Four Dogs Playing Poker is hurt by the predictability of the second half, weakening the fun and suspense that the film started off with, which also becomes increasingly preposterous, in want of more explanation and lacking in momentum. By the time the twist came I found myself not caring very much for who the perpetrator was.
Overall, great title and premise but doesn't quite deliver as much as it could have done. Disappointing, but hardly a time-waster. 5/10 Bethany Cox