Hey gang, Valkor here. And we’re back with another episode of MediaView, where we're taking our cinematic journey back to… Australia. Didn’t I just leave there (filmwise)? Well after the dismal viewing of Plague, I thought I’d give Aussie land another round, because before then, I hadn’t watched a film from there that has let me down. Enter “Sucker”, a film that may or may not be a true story. But if it is, it’s a damn good one because the film shines!
Sucker centers on a young lad named Lawrence (John Luc), who got caught cheating on his medical exams, which earns him an automatic failing grade and makes him the shame of his mother and father. As punishment for his actions, his father sends him off to live with his Uncle Sam (Yang Li), who sounds an awful lot like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Anywho, while helping his uncle at his chess club, enter “The Professor” (Timothy Spall – Harry Potter aka Wormtail), who appears to be very drunk and quite… vocal. He challenges the club members to a match - all at the same time. And unbeknownst to them, he’s playing them against one another. But Lawrence catches on and now wants to learn more from him about the con game. After tricking his uncle into thinking he’s off to do some medical studies, Lawrence joins The Professor and his daughter Sarah (Lily Sullivan) as they go from town to town scheming gullible folks of their earnings. And while Lawrence is learning a bit about the con game – even attempts a con of his own, which was a bust, he’s really learning more about life and love, mainly his blossoming feelings for Sarah. But you can visibly see that Sarah isn’t happy with her life and really wants a way out. The moment arrives when the trio enters a high-stakes poker game that could be the big score for The Professor and a way for Lawrence to pay back his parents for the money they spent on his education. And by the end of it all, Lawrence would walk away with a valuable lesson in life, love and an appreciation of life.
I said in the opening that “Sucker” may or may not be based on a true story. And I say that because the film opens and closes with comedic writer Lawrence Leung, who starts off talking about lies and ends with him and Luc. And as they walk away, Luc questions him and when asked about the rest of the film being true, Leung pauses and says “no”. Is it true? Is it false? I don’t know. Is it still worth watching? You better believe it and I’ll tell you all about it in the TOV Breakdown.
When I saw that “Sucker” was a comedy, I settled in and prepared myself for some laughs; now Sucker isn’t ha-ha funny, but it is a fun, heartwarming and a charming coming of age story that’ll have you smiling from ear to ear. It’s a simple tale that's very well written, easy to follow along and so well paced that its 97min. run time doesn’t feel all that lengthy. But what truly sells the film is the acting and you gotta give it up for John Luc aka YouTuber “MyChonny”, who looks quite at ease in his cinematic debut. The dude’s been doing zany vids for years about himself and his family – playing all characters (even the women parts) and while those vids are totally off the wall fun, here he’s very mellow and very chill. So if you’re expecting wacky antics because he’s in it - think again! Then there’s Lily Sullivan who brings in much of the emotion; her character simply wants to be free and she plays the role with plenty of angst and impatience, mainly towards her father who brought her up in the con artist lifestyle. Finally, there’s Timothy Spall… and come on, he’s fucking Wormtail, dude was awesome in the Potter films and here he totally brings his A-Game. It’s a little hammy, but at a respectable level that’s it’s not over the top, yet it suits the character to a T. In the end, Sucker hits you right where it should – in the heartstrings.
Sucker is an Australian release that you’ll either have to import if you want the DVD or you can score the digital vid on iTunes. Either way, it’s totally worth it as Sucker is cinematic perfection that I highly enjoyed and recommend, which also receives a perfect 5 out of TOV 5 stars!