Review: ‘Loser Takes All’

A noirish yarn centered on a drifter who gets involved in a drug transaction, "Loser Takes All" dissipates its early promise in a slack, talky midsection and an unbelievable finale. Seventh feature by vet Nikos Nikolaidis lacks the robust sexiness of his trashily enjoyable previous pic, "See You in Hell, My Darling" (1999).

A noirish yarn centered on a drifter who gets involved in a drug transaction, “Loser Takes All” dissipates its early promise in a slack, talky midsection and an unbelievable finale. Seventh feature by vet Nikos Nikolaidis lacks the robust sexiness of his trashily enjoyable previous pic, “See You in Hell, My Darling” (1999), and looks to take little beyond scattered Balkan TV dates.

An unnamed, unemployed guy (Pannis Angelakas) with shaggy hair walks into a bar carrying a canary and ends up staying in the apartment of the bar’s owner, Elsa (Ifigenia Asteriadi). After some recreational sex with an alcoholic vamp (Jenny Kitseli), he’s hired by a shady friend to follow a black English pole dancer (Louise Attah) who’s involved in a drug delivery. He decides to cut himself in for a part of the action. Despite some lusty perfs and some neon-soaked lensing, pic bogs down in too many scenes of the cast sitting around talking in Elsa’s apartment, and the warehouse climax, with a TV crew filming the handover, doesn’t work. Technically, film is OK.

Loser Takes All

Greece

Production

A Nikos Nikolaidis Prods., Greek Film Center, ET Prods. production. (International sales: Greek Film Center, Athens.) Executive producer, Vlasis Stathoulias. Directed, written by Nikos Nikolaidis.

Crew

Camera (color), Kostis Gikas; editor, Yorgos Triantafyllou; music, Yannis Angelakas; art director/costume designer, Marie Louise Vartholomeou. Reviewed on videocassette, London, Dec. 22, 2002. (In Thessaloniki Film Festival -- Greek Films 2002.) Running time: 124 MIN.

With

Pannis Angelakas, Jenny Kitseli, Ifigenia Asteriadi, Symeon Nikolaidis, Louise Attah, Ioanna Pappa, Lumi Savva, Melissa Stoili, Maro Mavri.
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