Imran Bukhari takes a gamble and reviews Runner Runner
For a film about online gambling, Runner Runner ironically takes not a single risk. The movie follows a safe, tried and tested formula dealing with the theme of innocence being corrupted. Think The Devil’s Advocate but in Costa Rica. Justin Timberlake stars in the lead role as Richie Furst, a genius Princeton student whose tuition money is stolen from him. As a result he arrogantly sets out to confront his perpetrator Ivan Block played by Ben Affleck, but is ultimately enticed by the lure of money and women. Timberlake never has to stray too far from either expressing a worried look or showing the audience how good he looks in a suit. It is a seeming waste of acting potential having previously showcased his ability to find depth and range in The Social Network.
In contrast Affleck as the pantomime antagonist of the piece is loud, brash and volatile. Talented actors Anthony Mackie and Gemma Arterton are not given enough material or screen time to fully develop their characters; filling in as one-dimensional supporting roles. However the most disappointing element of Runner Runner is the director Brad Furman. Furman showed great promise with his earlier directorial effort The Lincoln Lawyer; but the assured and tight storytelling is clearly absent this time around. Ultimately as an attempt to be an engaging thriller, there are little to no thrills or exciting plot twists and as Runner Runner runs its course, there is unfortunately no climatic payoff. Instead once the credits do begin to roll, viewers are simply left with a distinct underwhelming feeling as they realise that there is no way of retrieving the last ninety minutes of their lives. Indeed a much more apt title would be “Duller Duller”.
Quench Verdict: 2/5
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