Movie Review: Molly's Game
Directors: Aaron Sorkin
Starring:Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, and Michael Cera.
Release Date: 5thth January 2018The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target. – courtesy of IMDB
No Card Counting, Gentleman.
Aaron Sorkin has made a big name for himself in not only the world of film but the world of writing too. As far as his writing credits go, he has created some of the best, most dynamic and exciting screenplays for both film and TV in the last thirty years.
He’s proved himself as a great writer, but taking reign over an entire film production is an entirely different experience. Does his directorial debut live up to his reputation as a storyteller?
Molly’s Game is a vibrant, expertly crafted film. Fast pace mixed in with a tangible sense of fun make this film a promising start for 2018. It seems as if Sorkin clearly has had no trouble adjusting to a director’s role, and if he did then it doesn’t show at all. Years of experience of working in the industry has shaped his understanding of craft to deliver a style reminiscent of [David] Fincher, but still very much his own. Sorkin is more than successful in taking his very particular writing style and transforming it into an engaging thriller/crime drama that treats its audience with respect in their intelligence.
Of course the most intriguing aspect of Molly’s Game, the undisputable star player, is the dialogue. Music-like speech mended and moulded and choreographed into a captivating experience from beginning to end. The script expects you to keep up, but isn’t so over its own head that it convolutes everything and leaves you in the dirt. Sorkin has remained thoughtful of the audience and insightful in the choice of the words on the page. Scene after scene bleeds into one another with ease, and despite its 2 hour 20 minute running time, it feels almost half of that. By the third act there are three scenes that deliver knockout after knockout moments of dialogue that left me in awe and a slightly jealous knowing I’ll never be as talented a writer as he.
Bolstering the writing and holding the film on their shoulders are a terrific cast of actors who all bring their A-game. Jessica Chastain gives one of her best performances to date as the supremely intelligent and confident Molly Bloom. Her on screen power holds the audience for each scene as she dominates the story in a very human and driven way. Even in less sympathetic moments, we still stand by her side as she delves deeper into an increasingly dangerous world of illegal gambling, purely because the passion she displays feels so believable. Idris Elba does a fine job portraying her lawyer, a man of equal intelligent wit and stubbornness that leads to more than a few great moments of arguing and tension. However, a smaller role, but no means less impactful performance is given by Kevin Costner, who plays Molly’s Dad. Delivering one of the best monologues of the entire film, Costner manages to effectively leave a mark here which is both stern, authoritative, and memorable, whilst also being quietly heart-breaking.
"Sorkin has remained thoughtful of the audience and insightful in the choice of words on the page."
If I had to pick out one complaint about Molly’s Game is that it does feel a little uneven by the final act, nothing that a few minutes shaved off the total running time couldn’t fix. However, as I’ve said, this third act also holds some of the best scenes in the entire film so it’s is more than forgiveable.
Molly’s Game is slick, stylish, and sexy. It’s confident and bold and takes Aaron Sorkin’s impeccable storytelling ability to new heights. With fantastic performances across the board, and tight, precise direction steering the ship, Molly’s Game has set an impressively high bar for other films to leap over in the coming year.
+ Highly enjoyable thriller/crime drama
+ Fantastic acting
+ Intelligent storytelling and memorable moments of dialogue
- Third is at a slight stretch