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Runner Runner (MA)
Starring: Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake

MEN at loggerheads over illegal dealings. Gambling. Attractive women in an attractive setting. Corrupt policemen and politicians.
There’s nothing particularly new about Runner Runner – Brad Furman’s take on the decadence of illegal gambling set in legally-ambivalent Costa Rica – but it hits the right buttons in certain points without completely delivering on its trailer-promised chaos.
Justin Timberlake plays the charismatic Princeton student/former Wall Street trader Richie Furst and continues to flex the acting muscles he’s decided to build up since veering away from music.
This is another decent film in the Timberlake foray into drama – The Social Network, In Time and now Runner Runner have shown us his potential with script in hand rather than lyrics and dance-steps.
Not enough happens in the film for it to be a classic though – a couple of kidnappings, Timberlake gets roughed up by the Costa Rican political system and Ben Affleck threatens to murder said politician with a crocodile.
It had some interesting moments, but even looking back on it from less than a week removed from viewing it, I can’t remember a huge amount of what happened.
Chalk that partly up to my dud memory, but mostly because Runner Runner is a fairly plain film.
The twist ending tries its best to redeem the prior 85 minutes, but for a man embroiled in the chaos of corruptness, Furst seems to get away with his shady dealings scot-free.
Not enough time to fully explore international gambling corruption in 91 minutes I suppose.
Ben Affleck is at home as a villain, twisted by his own greed and ego, and hopefully manages to exude some of this arrogance and power in his upcoming Batman stint – if anything he can sink lower and find a point of greater darkness as Ivan Block, gambling millionaire/swindler, didn’t go far enough.
Gemma Arterton is a better actor than the role she was given – the stereotypical ‘look pretty and say nothing particularly relevant’ damsel-in-somewhat-distress. Could’ve substituted a cardboard cut-out of her for what the role actually required.
Wait for DVD. In fact, wait for it to go on sale.
– Jarrod Potter

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