Mississippi Grind (2015)

Gambler Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) has no luck at all – unless you count bad luck. Divorced and in serious debt, he resembles nothing so much as a dog that’s been kicked repeatedly. Into his life breezes the laid-back Curtis (Ryan Reynolds), who doesn’t seem to care and always seems to win. Could Curtis be Gerry’s good luck charm?

And so the pair set off on a road trip to the Big Poker Game that will win Gerry enough to pay off his debtors – if, that is, they can make enough along the way to earn the entry stake.

I found Mississippi Grind more than a little gloomy, to be honest, and not one I’d be likely to watch again. However, it was a very well-done study of the highs and lows of gambling -mostly the lows!

Reynolds is perfectly cast – totally believable as the charmer, but with the edge of sad desperation. I’m so glad they didn’t go with Jake Gyllenhaal (sorry, Jake!), as I just can’t picture him being as charismatic here. Okay, yes – I rather like RR, but it’s so very rare that he takes a good role. This is one, finally. And still, Mendelsohn outshines him: Gerry is heart-wrenchingly, toe-curlingly pathetic. Which is great, acting-wise, although not so easy to watch or sympathise with.

This is a ‘literary novel’ kind of a movie: all about the performances, with no real answers. I’m glad I saw it, but I’ve never understood the appeal of gambling, and still don’t.

Released: 23rd October 2015
Viewed: 24th October 2015
Running time: 108 minutes
Rated: 15

My rating: 6/10 – should be higher, but my rating system includes my own personal enjoyment and this was just a little glum for my tastes.

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