Runner Runner: Film Review

Runner Runner is the story revolving around a grad student sucked into the world of poker. Initially things sail smooth with him, but eventually his life takes a U-turn. Breaking all hell loose on him, events go haywire with the bad king on one side while the cops on the other. Ultimately things settle for good and the story ends on a happy note.

This typical movie formula may have clicked a decade ago. But getting a hit in 2013… I doubt.

Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) is a grad student managing online gambling on campus at Princeton University to fund his studies. With an imminent tuition fee repayment, he risks all in and loses, gambling on the site – Midnight Black.

Soon he discovers the fraud involved and heads to Costa Rica to confront the site’s owner, Ivan Block (Ben Affleck). Block not only pays him the amount but also makes a tempting offer, which Richie finds hard to decline. Everything goes well until Richie is kidnapped by none other than the FBI, whose Agent Shavers (Anthony Mackie) coerces him into being an informant on Ivan’s business.

Richie’s situation goes out of the frying pan into the fire. The movie concludes with the Princeton kid’s desperate moves to turn the tables on his boss, especially when he realizes the true extent of Block’s fraud, with a chance of escaping with his hide intact.

The entire movie has a series of glitches. Runner Runner, in general is a vaguely ambitious yet tacky melodramatic movie that lacks both style and story, it seeks to reveal. The movie lacks a lot of things including the tension between the protagonist and the antagonist, a real throb and a pulse of adventure that would keep the audience gripped to their seats.

Though several scenes throughout the movie were stuffed with fancy cars, luxurious yachts, private jets and the scenic beauty of Costa Rica along with parties full of semi clad women, but there’s nothing extraordinary to keep the audience hooked.

The best part about this 91 minutes long movie is that it is extremely fast paced. It’s amazing how fast time flies by and one doesn’t even realize that an hour and a half has just passed, while one thinks it’s just 40-45 minutes into the movie.

Justin Timberlake as Richie Furst, a smarty who doesn’t realize the sticky web he’s caught in until its too late, does justice to his character.  As Richie, he proves to be a better actor than a singer. Ben Affleck as the sinister, yet charismatic billionaire has portrayed the character of Ivan Block really well. Even his few villainous moments add a special highlight to his character. Gemma Arterton as the glamorous Rebecca had nothing substantial to offer, either to her character or to the plot of the movie. Yet another highlight of the movie was Anthony Mackie as Agent Shavers, a dogged FBI agent.

Apart from the panoramic view of Costa Rica and a cast capable of doing much better, Runner Runner is a patchwork of uninteresting scenes put together clumsily, that one can surely avoid spending time and efforts to watch.

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