Runner Runner fails to deliver anything fresh or unique

Runner Runner fails to deliver anything fresh or unique

Runner Runner is an American crime thriller film that was directed by Brad Furman, written by David Levien and Brian Koppelman and starring by Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Anthony Mackie and Gemma Arerton. It was released on 4th Oct, 2013, grossed $62 million but received generally negative review due to its not so unique nature.


Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) is a candidate at Princeton University and a marketing representative for online gambling firms. Unfortunately, the dean put an end to his referral business. Since he could no longer keep up with his tuition payment, he risks his remaining savings in the hope of winning at online poker only to see all drained away by a player with an uncanny win ratio. Convinced that someone has hustled out his tuition money, he takes a flight to Costa Rica to meet Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), CEO of the company that Richie suspects of cheating. Impressed by Richie’s gambling knowledge, Ivan offers him a dream job as the manager of the company with a seven figure salary. However, it is long before Richie is contacted by Shavers, an FBI agent who puts Richie in great danger

Shortcomings of the film

Generally Runner Runner is a generic and flat drama film from the beginning to the end. It fails to do anything interesting with the gambling subject which in the end is nothing more than a familiar story about opportunistic business people and corrupt officials.

The biggest drawback is the film story that moves so fast leaving no time to develop dramatic tension. The brief 90 minutes is spent highlighting key moments between characters but failing to provide subtle moments of story development that separate the great drama stories.

Whenever momentum seems to stall, Furman introduces a new character or a threat –Agent Shavers is brought into the mix for some yelling or someone gets punched in the face- because the characters and the story are too thin to maintain interest independently.

Another major shortcoming of this film is the lack of interconnectivity between the characters and the gambling world. Throughout the film, Furman attempts to keep reminding viewers that Runner Runner is about gambling through exposition and metaphors.

As a result, we can conclude that Runner Runner is a shallow and superficial representation of the gambling world. It prioritizes of generic story rather than innovative drama. However, the few solid performances along the line hint that Furman lost sight of any captivating hooks in his film and instead delivered a familiar and bland narrative that takes very few risks.

All In, the poker movie

All In, the poker movie

Poker is dubbed as the America’s game. It is played by politicians, celebrities, athletes and presidents alike. On any day, you will find a channel airing it but it is not played on a stadium or a field but on tables and chairs that can be found in any room.

About All in, the poker movie

All In, the poker movie is a documentary that was released on 29th July, 2011 in the U.S. It follows the history of poker from its humble Texas beginnings personified by Amarillo Slim and Doyle Brunson to the height of its popularity and subsequent fall.

Directed by Douglas Tirola, All in, the poker movie portrays the history of the game like never before with testimonies from dozens of industry executives, celebrities and professional poker players and a special focus on the miraculous World Series of Poker win by Chris Moneymaker in 2003.

This film is broken into segments which are dedicated to the biggest moments of the game’s development from the 19992 World Series through the drastic explosion that came in 2003 to 15th April, 2011, a day the poker community refers to as the Black Friday.

Agenda of the film

The Department of Justice and the FBI shut down the three largest online poker sites – Full Tilt Poker, Absolute and PokerStars accusing them of operating Ponzi schemes. Citing the 2006,s Unlawful internet gambling enforcement Act and the Act of1961, the closure of the three online poker giants led to the fall of the booming community of online players most of whom earned their living by playing poker.

The release of Al in, the poker movie a year later aimed at disputing the government efforts to control online gambling. The documentary portrayed poker as a game that symbolizes the American dream.

The film begins and ends with groups of people relating where they were when they heard the news that the government was cracking down online poker and how they felt about it. Some people even compared the moment to the attack on Pearl Harbor or the assassination of Jon F Kennedy.

Though this film is able to pass its message, it is padded with cheer leading such that it does not have serious exploration of poker in different cultures or the consequences of its global reach and rapid rise.

Watching Al in may not make you drop everything and head to Texas to play a round of poker but it will give you a more appreciation for the game.