Daniel Burman’s All In is an often engrossing romance between two people who don’t quite know how to fall in love. Uriel (the nicely cast Jorge Drexler) and Gloria (the lovely Valeria Bertuccelli) were once a couple, but have since moved on and gone their separate ways. When they reconnect some years later, the two are in need of some revitalizing. Gloria is stuck in a dead-end relationship that’s headed nowhere, while Uriel deals with a post-divorce lifestyle that includes no wife, but two children.
When these two characters find each other in an Argentinian casino, they never treat their budding romance like puppy-dog love. They are both older and wiser, knowing what it means to be let down. Burman’s film often draws parallels to the sport of poker, a card game Uriel passionately loves. The director never overstuffs the plot with references to Texas hold ’em, but the similarities (betting, chance, going all in) are still there, permeating every part of this friendship.
The dialogue in the film, written by Burman and Sergio Dubcovsky, is expertly written, although the plot becomes somewhat manufactured, especially in the final scenes. Uriel and Gloria are too original to fall into the trap of every other romantic comedy. They seem so smart, likable and sincere, but nevertheless, All In hits one too many snags as it tries to wrap everything up with a pretty bow. As many of these films turn out, the climax involves a big scene (this time, it’s a concert) where all of the major players are present and catharsis is hanging heavy in the air.
Both Drexler and Bertuccelli have great chemistry with each other, and they feel like real people. He owns a financial company that exchanges foreign currencies for clients, and she has a famous mother with a radio show about the literary world. They’re both successful, from the outsider’s perspective, but they are in need of something beyond the mundane. This urge causes drastic measures: Uriel is so committed to never having more children (although he dotes over his son and daughter) that he decides to undergo a vasectomy. He also lies to Gloria, for no apparent reason; rather than telling her he owns the finance company, he makes up a story about being a producer of a big Argentinian musical group.
All In, which is currently playing the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, deserves expansion into other markets. The film succeeds mostly because of these two characterizations, both of which are finely crafted and perfectly acted. Drexler and Bertuccelli give wonderful and believable life to Burman’s sub-par story.
By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com