|Richard Brzostek - 08/18/2008
Getting by in Communist Poland wasn't easy so those who were good at contriving got ahead. Of course, the contriving happened at every level of society. Soccer Poker (Pilkarski Poker) is a story of bribery and corruption; where those that own the teams try to control the outcomes of the game unbeknownst to the fans and most of the players for their own financial gain.
A referee is a symbol of honesty but also someone that has a lot of power in fate of the game. The main character in the movie is Laguna (Janusz Gajos), who was a star player when he was younger, and now is an alcoholic referee. His nickname for his wife is "bribe" and she urges him to see the scores end up a certain way. Although he wants to be fair, he is pressured to go along and fix the games. Naturally, he is going to get all he can out of the deal too.
I give the movie credit for presenting a story that may happen much more than we are aware of. I also like how Soccer Poker captures the feeling of Poland in the 1980s and has a bit of Polish culture mixed in. It has a very similar feeling to the several other 1980s Polish films about scammers/cheats, but each one takes a unique angle.
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