run time: 90 mins
considered: Crime, Drama, Thriller
starring: Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie
movie summary: When a poor college student who cracks an online poker game goes bust, he arranges a face-to-face with the man he thinks cheated him, a sly offshore entrepreneur. (www.imdb.com)
my thoughts: I was thrilled at the thought of how great this movie could have been, but ultimately left the theatre feeling robbed. The main cast is strong with Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, and Gemma Arterton, but the plot is just another version of a gambling crooked king pin being taken down by the FBI and an informant.
Richie Furst (Timberlake) is a student at the very rich Princeton University. He runs a small time gambling ring on campus, where he earns a commission for guiding others to gambling websites. After the Dean Monroe learns of his dealings, Monroe threatens to kick him out of school unless he stops. Furst doesn’t have enough money for school so decides to gamble his savings ($17,000) during a game of online poker. He loses all his money, finds out he has been cheated, and wants answers. He gets money from his dad and heads to Costa Rica to confront Ivan Block (Affleck) who runs the poker site.
Furst works his way into Block’s inner circle and instead of shrugging him off, Block offers him a job that changes his life. Within weeks, Furst goes from being a broke college student to a multi-million dollar assistant to Block. The FBI kidnaps him and inform him how crooked Block’s operation is, then offer his life back if he becomes their informant. Just like every other movie ever written with a similar plot, Furst returns and plays both sides until he sets up himself a way out.
The highlight of this movie is by far Ben Affleck. I seriously wasn’t expecting much from his character, but he plays such an amazing sly, dirty, crooked, and corrupt bad guy. He has the mentality to take everyone’s money, find someone to set up for the fall, while escaping with all the dirty money. Gemma Arterton is the beautiful lover who comes between the two guys, and plays an important role in the fall of the Block empire. In the lead role, Timberlake appears to be a smart guy, with a good conscience, who foolish believes living in a dream world is possible without any dirty tricks.
my rating: 6 out 10 stars