Saturday, April 7, 2018

Molly's Game

Movie Name: Molly's Game
Year of Release: 2017
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Stars: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O'Dowd, J. C. MacKenzie, Brian D'Arcy James, Bill Camp, Graham Greene, Justin Kirk, Angela Gots, Madison McKinley, Stephanie Herfield
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
View Trailer

Celebrated screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has crafted an interesting film as his directorial debut. Sorkin who has been responsible for shows such as "The West Wing" and screenplays for feature films such as "A Few Good Men", "The American President", "The Social Network" and "Steve Jobs" among others, adapts the book by Molly Bloom, crafting a somewhat different biopic. The film centers on Molly Bloom, a young and intelligent woman, who we initially witness being indicted. She is being indicted specifically for having run illegal gaming activities for a few years. The film then starts to present her story and how she ended in such a predicament. Molly was always pushed and pressured by her father to excel at everything, since her two younger brothers were terrifically gifted, hence some sibling rivalry. When she was in the Winter Olympics, she suffered an accident which forced her out of professional skiing. Having to figure out what to do next, she started providing assistance for Dean Keith, firstly on his day to day business, and eventually to gambling sessions he used to run and which included some high profile people. She started getting really good at organizing those, and making a substantial amount of money from it (from tips, and also from gathering new players for the games). When Dean fires her, Molly figures out the best way to come out on top, is simply to start organizing her own games, provided everything is done legitimately. This sends her on a path where she becomes very successful, but ultimately very exposed.
"Molly's Game" is a film that captures a slice of the events of the life of a young and resourceful woman, efficiently and dynamically. The film is anchored primarily in their actors, since it's a film based on the life of someone who used to run a gambling ring for a living. As such, the film explains thoroughly how this process was established, how people came into it, and what were the stakes. Molly is the narrator of the events, and does so without over sentimentalizing the ordeal. It's a testament to Jessica Chastain's talent, that she manages to create someone who is ambitious, but also flawed and aware of it. Her character isn't a victim, but also not a crass manipulator. She's simply a woman trying to make her way in the world, harnessing her intelligence and making sure she's got all her bases covered when she goes into that activity. It's interesting that Aaron Sorkin as a director, tries to showcase some of the influences from David Fincher in how he displays information on the screen, but he doesn't manage to paint that portrait quite as vividly as that director (they worked together on "The Social Network"). It's nonetheless an engaging film, featuring a solid supporting performance from Idris Elba, and one performance that is more one note from Kevin Costner. It's still an interesting debut, one that makes for an interesting watch.