Molly Bloom, a beautiful young Olympic-class skier, ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans, and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey, who learned that there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led us to believe.
The man who invented fast talking TV wins big with his high-stakes poker directorial debut Molly’s Game.
Aaron Sorkin has made a name for himself for incredibly dense dialogue rattled off by middle aged white smartarses. The West Wing has been the gold standard of quality writing, along with whip-smart shows like The Newsroom, his Oscar-winning screenplay for The Social Network, Steve Jobs and A Few Good Men.
But can the Award-winning writer direct? The man has worked under the likes of David Fincher and Danny Boyle and shows some solid – if not spectacular - talent here. Fincher and Boyle’s visual flairs are on display – the kinetic opening montage, the how-to-poker sequence – but he should have folded well before the 2 hours 20 minute run time.
Based on a true story of a broken athlete setting up illegal high-stakes poker games, this isn’t an inspirational rags-to-riches story but a cautionary tale. It’s hard to care about a character that is so money-obsessed and nihilistic, but Jessica Chastain is just so damned good with the rich dialogue I didn’t mind (too much).
Plus when she’s acting alongside the always-watchable Idris Elba the movie really fires. Sorkin’s writing works best when two cerebral characters go head-to-head and this pair makes up for any flaws this poker movie has.
And he has a few aces up his sleeve too: a slimy Michael Cera is just perfect as Player X – the real-life Hollywood celebrity who loved to watch players lose, Kevin Costner adds some gravitas as Molly’s dad, and The IT Crowd’s Chris O’Dowd is a card as usual.
When you’ve got ace writer Aaron Sorkin behind the camera, and a queen and king in the likes of Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba in front of it, you’ve been dealt a rather good hand in this fascinating true story.
DVD Releases: 23rd May 2018
Duration: 140 minutes
Genre: Drama, True Story
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Natalie Krill
Director: Aaron Sorkin (Debut Feature Film)
Molly Bloom, who is banned from Canada because she pleaded guilty to a federal crime in the United States, was granted a 48-hour pass to visit Canada for the movie's premiere at TIFF.
Molly Bloom told the director Aaron Sorkin that she wanted Jessica Chastain to play her.
It is widely believed that "Player X" is based on actor Tobey McGuire.
Because of schedules, Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain had only 10 days to shoot. They shot 45 pages in the first 6 days. They mostly rehearsed virtually before the shooting, and in between takes during the shooting of the movie.
Writer/Director Aaron Sorkin makes a cameo as one of the underground poker players.
Marks Aaron Sorkin's directorial debut.
The film cast includes one Oscar winner: Kevin Costner ; and two Oscar nominees: Graham Greene and Jessica Chastain.