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Looking for convincing pool action in a film? Look elsewhere.
on February 6, 2017
To this avid pool player, Turn the River was like a dry break: Lots of anticipation but ultimately unsatisfying. Table action was weak and unconvincing and there wasn't nearly enough of it. I give credit to Famke, she obviously took some instruction, but whomever consulted with her didn't take it far enough for her to appear like an actual player. If anything, this film gave me more respect for Tom Cruise in Color of Money. He was still shaky, but close enough to suspend belief. (What I wouldn't give for another Jackie Gleason!)
The film makers were brave to try to bring one-pocket to the screen. For anyone unfamiliar with one-pocket, think chess on a pool table. It's often slow and arduous. Unlike rotation games such as 9-ball, one-pocket is nearly 100% strategy and a single game often takes 30 minutes or longer. Also unlike 9-ball, good one-pocket play is subtle with minimal movement. It doesn't translate well to film. That said, watching a one-pocket match on Youtube between two pros is incredible and I highly suggest checking it out.
The story was mediocre and in spite of how much I enjoy Famke Janssen and Rip Torn they were unable to rescue the film.
Incidentally, the next time someone decides to make a film involving pool, they really need to talk to CSI (Cue Sports International) or the POVPOOL guys on Youtube before shooting. Those folks know all the right angles to put a pool table on screen.