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Molly’s Game

‘Molly’s Game’ is based on true events. Most films derived from real life tales tend to be more engrossing. This is because the situations really happened gives it a fresh intensity many fictional stories lack. ‘Molly’s Game’ also explores the world of gambling which the majority have partaken in one time or another. We all know the tension and pressure this can cause which screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, making his directorial debut, unearths with great skill.

Molly Brown (Jessica Chastain) is a former Olympic skier wanting more out of life. With her controlling father Larry (Kevin Costner) unable to tame her wild ways, Molly comes up with a sure-fire money-maker. Establishing a high-stakes poker game in New York and Los Angeles, her list of clients quickly grows. From movie stars, athletes, businessmen and eventually the Russian mob, for years, Molly is on a roll. The FBI catches on to her scheme and arrests her. Aided by her lawyer Charlie (Idris Elba), Molly attempts to ease out of her predicament before the last roll of the dice has time to settle.

Known for creating hit TV shows such as ‘the West Wing’, Aaron Sorkin utilises the same dramatic style for ‘Molly’s Game’. Featuring a character wanting to escape the predictability of life by indulging in an unpredictable pastime, Sorkin infuses a sense of danger in his script. This atmosphere is helped immeasurably by the shadowy cinematography, highlighting the dingy world Molly inhabits. Sorkin’s film benefits from Chastain’s strong performance as a woman determined to carve out her own life away from her father.

Costner and Elba also give fine performances in a generally engaging film. Whilst its momentum gradually deflates, the moments in between where Molly chooses which poker players can join her game are fascinating. This is made even more so because these events actually occurred with the world of poker having its own joys and dangers. The eyes of non-gamblers may glaze over during the technical briefings of the games but it’s the characters making ‘Molly’s Game’ compelling.

Poker playing hasn’t been this interesting as ‘Molly’s Game’ shows. Although occasionally slow with scenes amounting to padding, it’s a well-acted drama. For a first-time director, Sorkin has made a fine entrance to the silver screen with his next project hopefully as captivating as his current one.

Rating out of 10: 7

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