MOLLY'S GAME (15)
D: Aaron Sorkin
STX Films/Huayi Brothers (Mark Gordon, Amy Pascal & Matt Jackson)
W: Aaron Sorkin [based on the book "Molly's Game: From Hollywood's Elite To Wall Street's Billionaire Boys Club, My High Stakes Adventure In The World Of Underground Poker" by Molly Bloom]
DP: Charlotte Bruus Christensen
Ed: Alan Baumgarten, Elliot Graham & Josh Schaeffer
Mus: Daniel Pemberton
Jessica Chastain (Molly Bloom), Idris Elba (Charlie Jaffey), Kevin Costner (Larry Bloom), Michael Cera (Player X), Brian D'Arcy James (Brad), Chris O'Dowd (Douglas Downey), Bill Camp (Harlan Eustace), Samantha Isler (Teenage Molly)
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin has a track record of writing intelligent and interesting screenplays based on unsympathetic characters, his past credits including Steve Jobs, Charlie Wilson's War and The Social Network (for which he won an Oscar). For Molly's Game, Sorkin stepped up behind the camera to take up the directorial lens and it's a very impressive debut.
The subject of focus this time around is Molly Bloom, a former Olympic-class skier who becomes involved in underground poker tournaments for the rich and famous, which she ran for several years until she became indebted to the Russian mafia and was subsequently arrested as part of an FBI RICO case.
The film does a good job blending backstory with the court case, as Molly's story unfolds as the film progresses.
This is a role Jessica Chastain was meant for and she really sinks her teeth into it. On one hand, it's quite difficult to feel sympathy for a woman who played with fire and got burned, but subsequently Molly is portrayed as a woman of strong principles, even with the odds stacked against her.
Idris Elba also delivers a fine performance as Molly's lawyer, initially hesitant to take her case due to his clean cut image. Kevin Costner also provides fine support as Molly's father, and though the scenes which feature him do turn a little too melodramatic, they provide a clever insight into understanding Molly's career choices.
Aaron Sorkin proves his directorial mettle is just as good as his penmanship. Let's look forward to more of the same with his next project.