Poker Face review: A deft Columbo update for Knives Out fans


The glossy, involving first episode, written and directed by Johnson, is among the many finest. The homicide occurs at a garish Las Vegas-like resort and on line casino, and the episode is shot to appear to be a Nineteen Seventies tv present, with saturated colors and ominous music cues. That playful look works as soon as, then Johnson well drops it for extra cinematic approaches in later instalments. He is aware of how far to imitate a method and when to throw it away. (Different writers and administrators take over, beginning with episode three.)
When a resort maid (Dasha Polanco) discovers a horrifying picture on a visitor’s pc in that first story, she notifies the resort supervisor, performed with excellent smarminess by Adrien Brody. Establishing the present’s sample, Charlie turns up about 20 minutes in and the timeline shifts again to earlier than the homicide, with scenes telling us why she was round within the first place. Right here she turns up as a cocktail waitress carrying a goofy feathered hat.
It is sufficient to say that issues go flawed and Charlie has to flee, with the on line casino’s hitman, (Benjamin Bratt) chasing after her. Bratt’s character offers the sequence its slender continuity and a cause for Charlie to journey round underneath the radar, taking jobs as a waitress or a cleaner, making an attempt to remain a step forward of the killer.
The friends are usually not mega film stars, however acquainted faces. In a single episode, Chloe Sevigny, who performed Lyonne’s character’s mom in Russian Doll’s flashbacks, stars as Ruby Break, a has-been singer in a metallic band, now working at a warehouse. She will get the band again collectively and goes on the street, with Charlie promoting their T-shirts. Just like the Knives Out mysteries, Poker Face walks the road between easy and tongue-in-cheek, however the place the movies land on the campier aspect, the sequence is extra invested in its plots. No element is just too small or foolish to be a clue or a purple herring, together with the title of the metallic band’s one hit, Staplehead.  
Lil Rel Howery performs the co-owner of a Texas barbecue restaurant, whose brother needs to give up the enterprise, saying, “I am going vegan”. Wit all the time takes priority over seriousness right here. Somebody falls off a roof at a relaxation cease in New Mexico, the place Charlie meets a trucker performed by Hong Chau (The Whale). She later works at a retirement residence and befriends Nineteen Seventies radicals gleefully performed by Judith Mild and S Epatha Merkerson.
One different nostalgic contact: like these outdated sequence, Poker Face just isn’t essentially made to binge. It is there, prepared everytime you really feel like a reassuring, cosy thriller that is extra rumpled crime-solver than Miss Marple.
★★★★☆
Poker Face premieres on 26 January on Peacock within the US
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