Richie Furst (played by Justin Timberlake) would do really well at his studies at Princeton, if only he focused a bit harder on that instead of on his sideline business. He’s really smart, but he’s also a scout for an on-line gambling company and he gets a cut every time one of his “recruits” places a bet on-line. His grades are horrendous. One day he’s dragged into the Dean’s office and is told to shape up, otherwise he’ll end up with no degree, no job and no way to repay his study fee debt – some tens of thousands of dollars. His Dad, Harry (by John Heard) is a gambler from way back, so it’s in Richie’s blood. He needs funds fast to clear his debt, so invests his entire savings into an on-line poker game, which ends badly. Richie finds he’s been cheated and goes straight to the top to resolve it – the “Mr Big” of online gambling, Ivan Block (by Ben Affleck). Rather than make a huge public fuss, at first Ivan dismisses Richie quietly, but seeing huge potential in this smart, gutsy young guy, Block offers Richie a great job, with a magnificent lifestyle and benefits. Richie accepts and starts his life in Costa Rica as Block’s right hand man. Things go well, Richie manages all the businesses for Ivan and is making everyone sh*tloads of money. Until, one day, things don’t appear to be so “above board” any more. Richie starts to get worried and suspicious about the way things are really run in Block’s organization. Something in him says he needs to cover his own backside and make sure he can get out if he needs to. Is Ivan Block really, the smooth, charismatic, caring and sharing guy he makes out ….?
This movie is a run-of-the-mill “good guy versus bad guy … bad guy gets foiled in the end” kind of movie. It’s set in Costa Rica in the main, which makes it pleasant, but the story runs pretty true to form. There are deviations, but not many. That’s a shame – it did promise more. I like Justin Timberlake in the movies and he is good in this role, quite believable really – except in the fight scenes, which are not quite right somehow. Ben Affleck fits into his role as the smooth Ivan Block well too – he does it all pretty easily really. In fact it looks like they both do – no challenge here, I’d say they are let down most by the storyline. I wouldn’t hold that against either of them. Positive distractions in the movie are the good performance by Gemma Arterton as Ivan Block’s girlfriend, Rebecca, and Anthony Makie who plays the ridiculous FBI agent Shavers. It’s a good way to while away some time.
Made in 2013. Directed by Brad Furman