Directed by: Robert Luketic
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Spacey, Liza Lapira, Aaron Yoo, Jacob Pitts
Distributed by: Columbia Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 123 minutes
Film Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars
I remember the first time I saw this movie was sitting waiting for a car service to pick up my wife and I to take us to Las Vegas. It wasn’t our first trip by any means, we were regulars back the but that memory has always stayed with me over the last 10 years. Looking back at this film today, I can’t say that it really made its mark on Hollywood but it has become a staple must watch among the fans of gambling movies. The film is inspired by the true story of the MIT card counting team as told in “Bringing Down the House”, the best-selling book by Ben Mezrich. If you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend if you dig the genre.
Official Premise: Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess), a brilliant student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, needs some quick cash to pay his tuition bills. He joins a group of students who, under the leadership of unorthodox professor Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey), use their math skills to win big in Las Vegas. Seduced by a beautiful teammate (Kate Bosworth) and loads of money, Ben learns that the stakes are higher than he ever imagined when he crosses paths with casino enforcer Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne).
You know that after watching this movie, I went ahead and played a whole mess of blackjack and did pretty well if I remember correctly. But either way, this movie is legit, you can tell that these actors were trained in what they were doing and they made it look really real. I have always felt like Jim Sturgess was very underappreciated. He is an amazing actor. And who doesn’t love Laurence Fishburne?! This guy has turned himself into a name brand from his TV series “blackish” and “Hannibal” to films like this and “The Matrix“. When it comes to “21”, it may be a gamble but it pays off very well. See it!