Directed by: Ben Chessell | 90 minutes | comedy | Actors: Timothy Spall, Kat Stewart, Lily Sullivan, Jacek Koman, Jacinta Stapleton, Shaun Micallef, Eddie Baroo, Lawrence Gouault, John Luc, Sophie Ross, Ferdinand Hoang, Chris Broadstock, Yang Li, Rachel Lee, Tim Grimes, David Tregoning, Dalip Sondhi
Rewritten by Lawrence Leung for film after its first huge success as a comedy play in Australia, ‘Sucker’ tells the story of 17-year-old medical student Lawrence (John Luc) in Australia. This boy, of Asian descent, is expelled from school for cheating. To teach him a lesson, his parents send him to an uncle in the countryside.
With this uncle he ends up at a chess match, where he runs into The Professor (Timothy Spall). This gentleman turns out to be a professional impostor who, along with his daughter Sarah (Lily Sullivan) criss-cross the country to scam people. That is why they have no friends and are constantly dependent on each other. Lawrence joins the duo and also learns a few tricks from the master along the way.
It is mainly card games where The Professor excels. His ultimate goal is to take revenge on Riley, who ran off with his wife, during the all-important poker match called ‘The Chef’s Match’. To stay in poker terms, ‘Sucker’ is a movie about two jokers and the queen. And everyone wants to be cheated, but they also all want to beat the man/impostor.
Lawrence grows more mature and crafty throughout the trip with the cheating duo. He falls for Sarah, but she has her own problems. She is tired of this life and wants to go out on her own, stand on her own two feet. Finally living a ‘normal’ life. Lawrence grows from a young boy to a mature guy with confidence. He won’t make the mistakes he made before.
Unfortunately, ‘Sucker’ is a bit of a flat display and certainly not the hilarious comedy that the cover (with a ridiculous 16-year-old rating!) promises. Life is a game and some people just cheat better. True, but that could have been a bit more pointed. The loneliness of the duo of trickery and deceit would have liked to have been more widely measured. Timothy Spall relies a lot on previous roles and the other two protagonists don’t leave an unforgettable impression either. In short, ‘Sucker’ doesn’t give you a sucker punch. But, as with any film, it’s still a gamble! Tip: do not bet high on this movie, because it is not a prize-winning ticket.