Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageReview: ‘Runner Runner’ is busted Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Oct 7, 2013 in Entertainment
In ‘Runner Runner,’ a broke college student thinks he’s struck the jackpot when he begins working with an infamous online gambling entrepreneur.
There have been a lot of films made that centre on gambling. As a result, the formula is so established most of the elements are now considered cliché. In short, the protagonist's luck always turns sour and casino owners are shady. Casinos attempt to hook their customers by offering a variety of games and meeting all the players' needs on the premises. Similarly, in order to maintain a viewer's attention and gain their friend's hard earned dollars, the filmmaker must entertain the audience by presenting these familiar plot points in a well-paced, interesting and somewhat unique manner. Otherwise they'll just recommend you spend your money elsewhere. Runner Runner will not be landing a whale.
Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) was on the fast track to millions until his company went bankrupt. Now he’s struggling to pay for his tuition, turning to online gambling to triple his funds before the next payment is due. When Richie discovers a cheater on the site, he takes the information straight to the owner: Ivan Block (Ben Affleck). Impressed by his ambition, Block offers Richie a job on the spot. But corruption and deceit are quickly fracturing the foundation Richie bet his life on and if he doesn't act he'll once again lose everything.
A ticking clock is an easy way to build intensity in a film. Tension can be found in conflicting interests, threats and acts of violence, and secrets. This film incorporates all these elements and it still fails to capture the excitement and appeal of a thriller. Going through the key plot points of a gambling movie like it's a checklist, it's too mechanical to be exciting. Instead of using these narrative devices to enhance the picture, they are made dull by the monotonous script.
Director Brad Furman’s follow-up to the engaging The Lincoln Lawyer is lacklustre in comparison. While the script seems very concerned with the formula, it glosses over the details. Everything in the film happens very easily, from losing money to getting close to the highly-protected Block to organizing a counter plan. Richie simply floats from one plot point to the next. The conclusion is meant to answer all the viewer’s questions, but it only responds to some of them – unless you accept money is the solution to every problem.
This part is somewhat more nefarious than those Affleck has played in the past and many will be looking at this performance in anticipation of his upcoming role as Batman. He’s quite serious, which isn’t novel, but he’s not quite believable as someone who is inherently immoral. On the flipside, Timberlake has been exponentially more enjoyable in his comedic roles.
Director: Brad Furman
Starring: Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake and Gemma Arterton
More about Runner Runner, ben affleck, Justin timberlake, Brad Furman, Gemma Arterton
Entertainment Video
Latest News
Top News