21 (2008) 3/5 Stars
Cast: Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishbourne
Director: Robert Luketic
There is only one thing that Ben (Jim Stugess) wants from his life and that is to go to Harvard Med; only problem is that he doesn’t have the money and his only option is a scholarship or is it? In walks his new lecturer, Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey) and an opportunity to change his life and make the money he needs for school. A after school group of card counters are introduced including Jill (Kate Bosworth) who Jim has been crushing on for years. Corruption, Greed and Disloyalty are contained in this film.
The opening scene introduces us to Jim, the smart but cash riddled individual who is applying for $300,000 dollar scholarship to go to Harvard Med. The only problem is his application is exactly the same as every other person how has applied; what makes him special. In comes the voice-over that continues throughout the film describing the scene and action that you are watching; very obviously his application of why he does have a life. With Maths and statistics used through the film you have to be quick to understand the Monty Hall dilemma or it could confuse you for the rest of the film and distract from any story telling.
Winner, winner, chicken dinner
The films’ main focus is on making money by counting cards which is illegal and can get you into some trouble; particularly in Las Vegas which is the destination of our main cast. All of the characters are shown that they smart but none of them compare Ben’s ability to do quick Maths in his head and remain composed throughout any situation. So, the idea about card counting is the ability to predict future cards that are dealt from the cards that have already been played and what is left in the deck. With ringers that keep an eye on the cards and call in the high player; so they can make the most money and get out with it quickly. There is still security (Laurence Fishbourne) that is not happy when they find out about these people. The greed and the excitement lead its hand to romance, parties and spending money like millionaires.
The relationship that should be the main focus lacks a certain chemistry but with the additionally attention on Jim Sturgess and Kevin Spacey relationship it creates a father son relationship; something that is definitely in need from Ben character. It was a shame to ruin such a potential relationship but we did get to enjoy the time it did have. Liza Lapira, who plays a smaller role in the counting cards ring, plays her part to an impeccably standard; with a smart girl who likes to party. The direction of the film was well thought out with lots of walking and panning cameras; lots of movement that doesn’t distract from the story.