For Whom The Ball Rolleth

Double Down South
Stars: Kim Coates, Lili Simmons, Justin Marcel McManus, Igby Rigney, Tom Bower, Rebecca Lines and Cameron Cowperthwaite
Director/Scriptwriter:  Tom Schulman
Composer Adam Berry
Cinematographer: Alan Cavdillo
Level 3 Entertainment/Dead Poets Society
Not Rated But Could Be PG 13
Running Length: 123 Minutes

Do you feel the itching in the palm of your hands?  Anxious to grab a pool stick and go for a game or two?  In “Double Down South,” the game is on with a capital “O.”  Not only is it pool, but add Keno to it and you have a pool table with a special addition at the end of the table---one with holes in it so the cue ball can go in special holes.  Holes that mean winning money for the player. Ingenious, yes, and what will they come up with next?  A special upward tube for the ball to enter and then spin downward to a hole on the table? The film doesn’t go there yet, it is content to draw your attention to what it takes to be a winner.  An honest winner, that is.  

“Double Down South” stars Kim Coates (“White House Plumbers”) who plays the character of Nick as both friend (if he wins) and needs-anger-management if he loses. His sidekick as the film begins, is a girl out for money, Diana as played by Lili Simmons (“West World”), who has nerves, not of steel, but titanium. She walks a fine path through the film with nail-biting accuracy.  Then, we have DuBinion (Justin Marcel McManus ““Power Book 2”), a black man with plenty of money---and is eager to win and win again. What will happen?

The film begins with a young girl driving down a dirt road in a beat-up pickup and ending up an at an old mansion that is a pool hall. Entertainment in the back woods. Eventually, she tries a game of pool/keno and wins and is spotted by Nick, the owner, who knows a winner when he sees one. The dollar signs are already in his eyes. Along with Nick, is young Little Nick (Igby Rigney from “Fall of the House of Usher”) who sees a winner, too, but also a friend for himself and Old Nick (Tom Bower.) Soon, Diana is being taught ways of winning, usually by wearing scanty clothing. It pays off as men start coming in, profits are high and Nick is happy.  Diana is able to move into the mansion, but her room is more like an attic. Enter a black man, DuBinion, who wants to win and get a match with Diana.  From then on, it is win, lose, win, lose until the stakes become enormously high and nerves are tense. Nick is getting downright brutal with the help and fear is in the air. What to do?

The atmosphere in “Double Down South” is well played by this old mansion that should be listed in the cast. It has character. The music by Adam Berry fits each scene and this adds to the tension of the pool/keno game. Gamblers will be interested in this film, even if you don’t play pool, because of the tension and that, also, is part of the game. The mind becomes so focused on the table you forget everything else.

As far as acting, Kim Coates does manage to steal each scene he is in with his piercing eyes and inability to stand still. What does take your eyes off him is when Diana enters the room.  Who is learning from who? Igby Rigney has his moments as Little Nick, who is pushed around by everyone, yet comes back each time with a smile. Tom Bower’s Old Nick does the character as patient, and even too patient at times. Cameron Cowperthwaite pays Douche as a man on the run after being turned out by Nick. One can sense the apprehension here.

What caught my attention is the invisible dance between Nick and Diana. Will he---or won’t he? The two actors do this quite well as the audience waits in anticipation because there can be only one winner in this game and is it going to be the owner or the player? As in any game, the goal is always in sight.

Copyright 2024 Marie Asner