I had high hopes going into this movie, it had a strong cast and was written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, who wrote such films as: A Few Good Men, Moneyball and The Social Network, so it had some pedigree to aspire to, however, promise does not always equal results.
Former Olympic-level skier Molly Bloom, finds herself running poker games for the super rich in Los Angeles and quickly discovers how much money there is to be made in running poker games, however it all catches up to her when she is indicted in a mob case, as a few of her ex-customers weren’t as innocent as they seemed.
Molly’s Game is a hard film to review. I say that because technically it is a very well made movie, but practically, it’s slow, over-long and unfocused. Not good qualities to have when you have the talent on board your project.
The story is interesting enough, it doesn’t focus on the interesting parts however and when it does, it stretches the scene until it’s no longer interesting. It’s a movie that’s almost two and a half hours long which really should have only been one and a half hours, one and three-quarters tops.
The film also assumes that the viewer has a working knowledge of poker, as it throws all the poker terminology it can at you in a relatively short space of time. I’ve never played the game, and I imagine a fair few others would say the same so that went over my head, and as a poker heavy film, it makes it difficult to get into.
The start of the film occupies itself with telling an anecdote which is only tangentially related to the rest of the film, there’s also an undercurrent plot of ‘daddy troubles’ which comes across as forced, which the screenwriter balances by trying to make the father character as much of an arse as possible, only to be forgiven immediately during one emotional scene late in the film, it just doesn’t ring true.
Acting wise everything’s fine really, Idris Elba is the highlight as Molly’s lawyer, Jessica Chastain didn’t impress as much however, she’s a decent enough actress but doesn’t have the magnetism to carry a film on her own, elsewhere there’s Michael Cera who’s rather mis-cast, I never can buy him as a bad guy, he has too much of an innocent face, as strange as that sounds.
As I say, films like this that are functional enough to not be offensively bad, yet still manages to bore me at time of viewing, it doesn’t make for great material as there isn’t enough to pick apart, except for it being slow and the same can be said of Gone With The Wind and that’s well-regarded.
In brief, if you like a slower-paced movie with decent enough performances then knock yourself out, I just think it could have been much better.