Title – Runner Runner (2013)
Director – Brad Furman (The Lincoln Lawyer)
Cast – Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie, John Heard
Plot – Financially struggling college student and gambling wiz Richie Furst (Timberlake) gets a job working for suspect online gambling heavy hitter Ivan Block (Affleck) in the picturesque country of Costa Rica. The job brings Richie closer to financial gain and fellow Block employee Rebecca (Arterton) but also closer to the edge of the law.
“That little voice in the back of your head right now, it’s not conscience, it’s fear”
Review by Eddie on 13/03/2014
Taking his love of gambling to a whole different level, Leonardo DiCaprio here produces this curious wannabe thriller about a bunch of questionable characters who are nigh on impossible to care about and a story that makes nigh on no sense whatsoever, but heck it sure is a pretty mess of a film that quite understandably sunk like a suitcase full of poker chips when released into cinemas last year.
While the story at the core of Runner Runner is impressively average it’s also a story that could have been a lot more fun had it had actors willing to produce the goods for mediocre material but sadly with a beyond bland and charisma free lead turn by likeable supporting actor/singer Justin Timberlake the film never gets off the ground. Timberlake’s Richie is one of those Mark Zuckerberg like males who know they are smart and use it to their advantage. The thing is where a Jesse Eisenberg can make that type of character appealing Timberlake merely ambles about with his material and does it no favours. You get the sense after his personal poor showing here and the films overall poor reception a career as a leading man may be beyond Timberlake, which really isn’t a bad thing as his doing quite fine in supporting films like Inside Llewyn Davis, and it’s not like he had top quality support in this film.
Playing an against type villain Ben Affleck is horribly bored looking as online gambling big man Ivan Block, an arrogant rich man who walks around with his shirts largely unbuttoned and has crocodiles in his lake just because he can. It’s a strange role for Affleck to take on and one that surely on paper couldn’t of seemed overly ambitious. In the other supports Arterton is overly orange and underused while poor old Anthony Mackie must be getting a little concerned with his output since his great turn in The Hurt Locker, delivering another over the top performance here as FBI tough guy Agent Shavers.
Runner Runner is a perfectly enjoyable piece of fairy floss, a movie that sure is pretty to look at and sure is empty beyond that. It’s a movie that despite being classified as a thriller deals a hand that is anything but thanks to a predictable story arc and even more predictable participants. One can only hope that at least Affleck looks to try a little harder once he dons the caped crusader getup.
2 buckets of chicken fat out of 5