When I sat down to watch my very first movie dedicated to the game that has become such a strong part of British, American and Canadian culture, I had no idea what I was in for. If you’re used to the History Channel type documentaries you may be expecting a low key experience from “Bingo! The Documentary”, but that is not what director John Jeffcoat had in mind. In fact, the exclamation point in the title is a good indication of the way this documentary approaches the world of bingo sites.
You’ll meet players from all around the globe who are wild about bingo – to varying degrees. Some are absolutely obsessive players and for others, it’s merely another social experience. I was somewhat surprised to see that the movie did not go into the recent explosion of college age girls who have made the sport something of a national past time in the UK, but given its 1999 release, the trend had not yet hit critical mass at the time it was shot. Still, there’s a great deal in the film that resonates today.
Obviously, one of the shortcomings of the film is that it does not mention online bingo, the latest way to play. If had sponsored this film it surely would have had a lot more glitz and glamour than what we see here, but the passion is admirable just the same. It would have been fun to watch the online players in their natural environment as they won money and shouted, especially considering the fact that 888bingo has the biggest jackpots out there. I suppose that’d be a different movie experience altogether though.
All in all, “Bingo! The Documentary” is a fun look into the bingo world, it’s not like any bingo movies you will ever see, I highly recommend.
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