Runner Runner sees pop sensation and surprisingly-good-actor Justin Timberlake (In Time), playing Richie First, embroiled in the world of gambling. His journey to reclaim what he lost unfairly is the main premise of the film, however ultimately only serves as an introduction. Ivan Block (Ben Affleck – Argo, The Town) and Rebecca Shafran (Gemma Arterton – Clash of the Titans, Quantum of Solace) are the masterminds behind the operation and take the young Richie under their wing, with little to no effort not Richie’s part, and change his life. However after running around a bit and getting beaten up several times by men in vans Richie eventually figures out what the audience knew from the moment they met Ivan… perhaps he’s not as nice as he seems? Was it the ‘On The FBI’s Most Wanted’ or the killer crocs… who knows?
The plot unveils with more predictability than an England world cup match, supporting characters don’t branch out of their shells as ‘henchmen’ or ‘quit whilst your ahead, don’t be a hero’ kind of guys. Perhaps the main draw back is the film tried to tap into the ‘Bond theme’ (with the colossal sums of money and computer programming that even most computer programmers would be baffled at) yet it felt false. There was never any element of threat and after the third time the vans pulled up to Richie and initiated the beating a sigh, perhaps a small laugh, washed over the audience.
It isn’t the worst gambling related film but all in all in the high stakes game of film making, Runner Runner should have folded.
Verdict – 2/5 Stars