The stakes couldn’t be higher in this Swiss thriller combining crime and poker
★★★½ All4, currently available on-demand at Walter Presents (All4)
WALTER PRESENTS is the video-on-demand service of Channel 4’s sister network All4, which launched in January. You may have seen plugs for some of its off-kilter and risqué foreign crime dramas, including The Out-Laws (Belgium), The Hunter (France) and Locked Up (Spain).
Among them is a particular fave of mine, the Swiss drama 10. It’s a thriller set at a poker game, resulting in a multilayered story combining action round the table and behind the scenes.
On New Year’s Eve, croupier Vincent Torrella (Jérôme Robart) welcomes a disparate group of high-stakes poker players to a secret game in Geneva. It’s a twist on the country-house murder mystery with characters locked together in a setting. As the drama unfolds, we realise there’s a lot more than half-a-million francs at stake.
The crook, the hoodie and the ex-lover
Through flashbacks we get a glimpse into the players: including the bullying crook; Vincent’s stuttering brother, Manuel, and Manuel’s lover; the mystery man in hoodie and shades; the older woman; a Chinese diplomat; plus an police undercover officer.
Directed by Jean-Laurent Chautems and written by Christophe Marzal and Christian François, this is a cool, atmospheric slice of noir.
The episodes are half an hour long, just enough time for a major surprise to be sprung in each instalment. There’s plenty of intrigue and even a little romance as the poker action proceeds.
Secret eyes watching the game
Thousands of viewers will have experience of poker and gaming at online casinos with sites such as www.toponlinecasinos.co.uk and many who settle down to 10 will be familiar with Texas Hold’em. But you won’t need to be an expert to understand what’s going on as the characters attempt to outplay and bluff each other to win that half-a-million franc pot.
In the meantime, there are many intrigues to unravel. Why is one of the women playing so recklessly by repeatedly going all-in? Will Vincent retrieve the prize money when he loses it down a ventilator shaft?
And with secret eyes watching proceedings and a police officers’ party in progress on a different floor in the same building, will the players hold their nerve throughout the night?
Like the game itself, the drama is compelling, with its themes of surveillance, poker action and personal conspiracies.
- Find the home of 10 on Walter Presents