Starring: Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie, Michael Esper, Oliver Cooper, John Heard
Directed by: Brad Furman
Run Time: 91 mins
Genre: Crime/ Drama/ Thriller
Opens October 4th
By Lisa Minzey of The Reel Critic.com
Another film opening this week stars an Academy Award Winner, an Emmy Winner and BAFTA Nominee. With all that talent, one might assume that this thriller about online gambling would raise the stakes. How did they do? Read on to find out.
When Princeton grad student Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) gets reprimanded for promoting online gaming on campus, he’s on the line for paying his tuition by the following week. He owes about $60,000.00, So to raise that money he tries his hand at online poker where he almost wins but finds out that one of the players was cheating. He decides to bring this matter to the attention of the website’s owner Ivan Block (Ben Affleck). The only catch is he has to travel down to Costa Rica to garner an audience with the elusive gambling mastermind.
Block is impressed by Richie and the way he conducted his business with him, resulting in an offer of employment with a starting salary of 6 figures. Not bad, right?
A few months into his employment, Richie is approached by FBI Agent Shavers (Anthony Mackie); trying to force him into cooperating his investigation into Ivan Block and his gambling business. Richie panics, informs Ivan who blows this off as this is of little importance. Richie believes Ivan and continues doing business per usual.
As the deals become more questionable, Richie questions his own safety and role within Ivan’s organization. Will he be able to exit quietly or fall like a house of cards if the feds catch up with Ivan?
The past few films that Justin Timberlake (In Time, Trouble with the Curve) have starred in that showed his dramatic side has not been his best work. He really excels in the realm of comedy and should stay there. Ben Affleck, over the past few years has turned his career around with venturing into directing and acting, but this role albeit, not his typical role, suited his acting skills from the Changing Lanes years. He’s gotten past crying in every role which is positive, but this film could have been much stronger if Timberlake’s role was recast. Gemma Arterton and Anthony Mackie were fine choices for their respective roles, but the quality of the film with so much talent didn’t quite hit the jackpot. Although this film is entertaining, I’m not quite sure if it was the script or the direction of the film, but it lacks a certain spark to make it memorable. You be the judge when “Runner Runner” opens in theaters nationwide starting Friday October 4, 2013.