Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review: Runner Runner

Release date: October 4, 2013
Running time: 91 minutes
Starring: Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie
Who to see it with: Someone who wanted a little more intrigue and sexy in their Rounders


Runner Runner follows a brilliant Princeton student named Richie (Timberlake), who loses all his money playing online poker in a failed attempt to pay for his tuition. He realizes that there was no way he could have lost those hands, so he (logically) heads down to Costa Rica to get his money back from the online casino. When he meets the head of the site, Ivan Block (Affleck), Ivan offers him a job to help out at the casino and mold him into Ivan's image. This slowly leads Richie deeper into the underworld of Ivan's empire and he meets some interesting characters and is forced to make questionable decisions along the way. 

I'm a big Justin Timberlake fan and he doesn't disappoint. He's fun to watch (as always) and plays a fairly convincing smooth financial genius. Affleck is also very good as Ivan; he is a cool mogul at times and a calculating underworld businessman when he has to be more ruthless. The two have a great rapport, especially early on in the film, and seeing them both on screen is probably the highlight of the movie. Some of the supporting characters are less convincing-- Anothony Mackie (who I generally really enjoy) is a little too over the top--but luckily the main characters are fun to see. The plot is surprisingly slow; Richie is introduced to Ivan's world carefully and deliberately. It's kind of admirable that the movie doesn't rise and fall like a roller coaster,  but the danger in the film seems to ratchet up slowly and doesn't really reach a noticeable climax. The ending is fine, with a few fun surprises, but it kind of stops abruptly after such a long build up. Overall, the movie is a fun adventure, with some good acting, but I wouldn't go all in to see it.

Rent it.

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