Director: Robert Luketic
Writer: Peter Steinfeld, Allan Loeb and Chris Kalyvas (screenplay) Ben Mezrich (story)
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Spacey, Liza Lapira, Aaron Yoo, Jacob Pitts
Winner, winner chicken dinner!
Inspired by true events, this exciting and high-energy journey follows Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) as he discovers the world of counting cards and the game of blackjack in Vegas. The huge financial rewards and glamorous way of life that was supposed to be a means to an end for Ben, became an addictive and extremely risky and dangerous lifestyle choice.
Ben: You know, I’m only really doing this just to pay for medical school. You know, $300,000 and then I’m out.
Jill: That’s what they all say.
This is a fast paced film of high-rollers and well-educated characters, some with intimidating power and control. A once conscientious student becomes wrapped up in the underworld of counting cards which jeopardises his future as a Harvard Medical student as blackjack team member, Professor Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey), turns on him.
Mickey: You didn’t do your job. You weren’t counting, you were gambling!
The genius who pushes away a possibility to change his life with a mentor with questionable motives sort of reminds me of Good Will Hunting. But 21 is a more modern, less philosophical version with much more risk to keep you on your toes.
The lighting and quick-cut editing is quite incredible. The shadows and gold lighting of the casinos reflect the mood and how well – or tragic – the circumstances are, while the editing puts you in the shoes of the counters who’s lives are rushing past at a 100 miles an hour. The disguises that they all use on each Vegas visit is a fun addition to the work that they do.
We used hand signals, too. Folded arms, the table’s hot. A touch to the eye, we need to talk. And a hand running through perfect flowing hair meant only one thing. Get out. Now.
The soundtrack to 21 is a mixture of popular artists such as Rihanna and MGMT, classic artists such as The Rolling Stones, plus some more of the middle-of-the-road artists like Peter Bjorn and John and Unkle. There are a few R&B songs that I don’t really like, but the best parts are used in the film effectively.
I thoroughly enjoy this movie. It has action, twists, intellect, good-looking people and the life that many dream of having; fortune but with exhilarating danger and the freedom that no [average] student would ever come close to having.
I would recommend this movie to anybody.
Jodie’s rating: 8/10