I was drawn to seeing this by majority positive reviews, though the story turned out to be largely lost on me. So uninvolving it was that I felt like an outsider looking on to a subject which left me cold, and a female protagonist whose fate I couldn't really care much about. I can only assume that the Jessica Chastain character, at the centre of the 'Molly' story, was supposed to attract one's sympathies. Not me.
Filmed mainly in Toronto, a former ace-skier (reflecting the true story) Molly Bloom - a name which some might recognise from a certain 20th century literary classic, referred to in this film - sets up her own poker joint for celebrity clientele (stars, sportsmen, and other affluents) after being slighted too many times by her former employer who had lured her into working for him in his gambling den, she taking most of his famous clients with her in an act of hubris. Unfortunately, and not exactly unsurprisingly, gambling $ooo's at a time running up into millions, these men include big-time mobsters, a state of affairs which eventually has violent consequences for her personally. Legal ramifications and possible criminal violations also ensue with her activities - and Idris Elba appears as her lawyer in basically functional appearances. There are a few illustrations of poker games, but it all goes so fast that I quickly got tired of trying to keep up with it.
Kevin Costner as Molly's psychiatrist father pops up at the start in brief exchanges when she's a young skier (warning: this opening sequence includes what must be the grisliest image of a surgical operation I have ever seen. It lasts for little more than two seconds but will now haunt me for my remaining days. Why do they do this? To make sure we don't fall asleep just a few minutes in?Thanks, director/screenwriter Mr Sorkin!). Costner makes another unwelcome and too long appearance towards the end where he irritatingly tries to psycho-analyse his daughter to determine where she is in her life. (Who the hell cares? Well, as her father I suppose he might, but we do not!)
Chris O'Dowd also appears as one of the more significant gamblers.
This is writer Aaron Sorkin's first feature as director, a script writer now so (incomprehensibly) revered that for some he can do no wrong. He was responsible for the script for 'The Social Network' (2010), another film where I felt left out in the cold, but which was lauded from all directions for some reason. Granted that a lot of my problem with that film was that with so much lazy mumbling of the lines I didn't have a clue as to what was going on. There isn't quite that problem with this film, though the lines do come so fast that I found it hard to keep up with it, and if I'd been with someone I'd have felt stupid if I'd asked "What the hell is going on?" - though I suspect I'm far from being alone. (I must say that I found Sorkin's script for 'Steve Jobs' better than 'Social Network' - or what I heard of it - or for this film.)
I don't understand why there's been quite the buzz about this film that there is. Maybe poker connoisseurs will get more out of it than I did - but did it really merit its near-epic length of 2hrs20? I suggest a "NO!"...........5.
3 hours ago