Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Film Review: Runner, Runner

About the film
Runner, Runner is a 2013 thriller film. It has a run time of 91 minutes and is rated 15. The film was produced by many people, one of which was Leonardo DiCaprio.

Richie Furst is struggling to pay his way through Princeton after crashing out in his former job. When he attempts to win his tuition fees on an online gambling website, he believes that he’s been swindled when he loses all of his money. With nothing left to lose, Richie heads to Costa Rica to confront the owner of the website, Ivan Block. Instead of just getting his money back, Ivan offers Richie a job and promises great wealth. To begin with Richie is having the time of his life and loves what he’s doing but he soon realises that there is a lot more to Ivan and his business than meets the eye. Richie is right in the middle of Ivan’s dirty dealings and it looks like he will take the fall for everything.

Justin Timberlake as Richie Furst
Gemma Arterton as Rebecca Shafran
Anthony Mackie as Agent Shavers
Ben Affleck as Ivan Block
David Costabile as Professor Hornstein
Sam Palladio as Shecky
Oliver Cooper as Andrew Cronin
Ben Schwartz as Craig

What I thought
I didn’t know much about this film before going to see it apart from the fact that it starred Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake but those were good enough reasons for me to go and see it.

The plot surrounds Richie Furst who used to have a great job on Wall Street. Unfortunately, that ended and Richie goes back to college to complete his post grad. However, due to his past employment, he cannot get any help with tuition so he has to pay it all himself. Richie’s character is extremely intelligent and figures that he can get sign ups to an online gambling website and receive a cut of everyone who signs up. But, the dean of Princeton threatens to expel him if he keeps it up. I liked how the beginning of the film set up the explanations of online gambling and the way that people chase money on there. But, after that, it all got a bit too crazy and unrealistic.

You see, Furst runs off to Costa Rica to confront the owner of the website face to face. He knows Ivan Block in incredibly hard to get to but figures it’s worth a try anyway because he’s desperate. Even though it’s stated that Ivan Block is hard to get to, Richie seems to manage it with very little trouble at all. Playing Ivan Block is Ben Affleck who has had a bit of a bad run of acting jobs in the past few years. However, I quite liked him in this role for the most part. He plays a character that is quite smarmy and slick, who knows that he can do pretty much whatever he wants. Affleck acts cool, calm and collected for the most part but is also able to lose his temper and show the meaner, more devious side to him when he needs to. Even though he did a good job, there are loads of actors who could probably have done better.

Justin Timberlake hasn’t had that many roles since hitting the film business but he does always manage to switch it up a little bit. In Runner, Runner Timberlake plays main character Richie Furst. I found Timberlake to be absolutely fantastic in this film. At the beginning he is confident, clever and doesn’t see that he’s doing anything wrong. It’s only when he loses all of his money gambling online that he begins to change. He makes the change from Princeton student to wealthy and stylish very quickly which goes to show what money can buy you… a nice suit! Anyhow, Timberlake manages the transition pretty damn well and became more likeable as the film went on due to what was happening to him. However, I would have liked to have seen Timberlake lose it a little more towards the end of the film as he was too calm for what was happening around him.

Runner, Runner doesn’t have the most complicated or exciting plot because basically, it’s been done before. This is a film that doesn’t really offer anything new which was quite disappointing. While this may not be an original film, it is still very entertaining. There is plenty going on throughout, even with a slow start, and there are little clues being dropped everywhere. I enjoyed watching Richie get to grips with his new life and to figure out exactly who he could trust around him.

There are also a few things that didn’t make a whole lot of sense. Richie is supposed to be incredibly intelligent but he doesn’t see what’s going on around him until quite near the end of the film. He also should have been able to outsmart Ivan with ease or at least do more about what was happening. Not only that, but if he was so clever, he should have probably known that Ivan’s offer was far too good to be true. Things like that just don’t happen. It’s a shame that such little issues let this film down.

While I did enjoy Runner, Runner, it could have been such a better film. The plot was quite standard and there were problems throughout. One to buy on DVD when it’s cheap though. 

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