Sheba Wood ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff
1. Ben Affleck is perfect (as always)
His character, Ivan Block, is a devious and intense man and Affleck is the perfect actor for the role with his previous experience in roles such as The Town and Daredevil. He is able to exude success, power and make you want to be him, but at the same time, you want to be as far away from him as possible. He is also the best actor in the entire movie. Justin Timberlake is okay, but every time Affleck is on screen you won’t be able to look away. Timberlake acts as a window into the world of Ivan Block, but what we are interested in is Ivan’s lavish life. No one cares about the henchman, just the evil genius.
2. Relatable to desperate college students
Justin Timberlake’s character, Richie Furs, is a Princeton student who used to have a promising career in the stock market until it crashed. Now, he has to find ways to pay for his expensive college tuition, which leads him to the unfortunate situation of being involved with Ivan Block. Anyone who has ever wanted to make their lives better but is struggling and looking for a way out will understand why he initially does what he does. The root of film is to portray the truth of the world, meanwhile online gambling may not be a huge problem in colleges, the sense of desperation is as human as it gets right now.
3. There is ton to pick apart if you are a film buff
Everything from the costumes, lighting, camera angles, scenery and décor can be related to a theme or character description in the film. Everything is incredibly fast paced and there are some time lapses, but when you are living in the moment of the present scene (much like the characters) you don’t pay too much attention to it. You are either focused on the difference of the impoverished and luxurious areas in Costa Rica, the relationships between characters (except for Richie and his girlfriend,Gemma Arterton, because she is just there to look pretty), or the power of money and its ability to corrupt. The characters are well defined; yet hold certain traits away from the people in their lives. They bring the sense of mystery and deception needed in a movie that centers on gambling. The way that Ivan and Richie interact with law enforcement, drug dealers, and Arterton’s character show the basic ways in how they differ and how they play the game of their lifestyle. There is so much to process that you will remain engaged throughout the movie.
4. The writing is near flawless.
Seriously. The team of Brian Koppelman and David Levien (Co-writers of Ocean’s Thirteen and the upcoming National Treasure 3) has used their talents to bring us into this secretive world of crime and glamour. I tried to think of particular quotes that stood out to me and I can’t. Why? Every quote in that movie has an important connotation that could be picked apart for days. Even the words in the quotes were clearly chosen for a reason such as “Play or be played.” or “Know when to walk away.” All of these are basic tag-lines that we have heard over and over but this movie puts them in their original context. All of these characters are gamblers, and that is well portrayed through everything they say. Kudos to Brian Koppelman and David Levien!
5. You will want to talk about it after, no matter if you liked it or not.
As I said, there is so much to talk about in this movie that it is impossible to cover all of it. You will leave either wanting to discuss the themes with other people, or just within yourself. We all take gambles in life. We are also taught that the house always wins, but this movie tries to challenge that theory. Is it better to be the player or the dealer and who would we rather be?
Runner Runner is in theaters now. Check out the film’s trailer below: