Writer: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck (Screenplay)
Starring: Ben Mendelsohn, Ryan Reynolds, Sienna Miller, Alfre Woodward, Yvonne Landry, Analeigh Tipton
Plot: Down on his luck and facing financial hardship, Gerry teams up with younger charismatic poker player, Curtis, in an attempt to change his luck. The two set off on a road trip through the South with visions of winning back what’s been lost.
Tagline – We can’t lose.
Runtime: 1 Hour 48 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Verdict: Shocking Look at Gambling Addiction.
Story: Mississippi Grind starts as down on his luck gambler Gerry (Mendelsohn) returns to his latest grind on the tables, this night he meets charismatic poker player Curtis (Reynolds) and the two become friends through the shared love of gambling.
Curtis enjoys the fun in gambling and knows when to walk away, he wants to work with Gerry, who just doesn’t know when to quit, which sees his addiction consume him as he leaves himself isolated from friends and family, even the only person that will give him a chance Curtis.
Thoughts on Mississippi Grind
Characters – Gerry is a gambling addict, it has cost him his wife, daughter and friendships. He keeps returning to the tables, where he can play, but he keeps blowing it on the first attempt he can on a longshot in a dog or horse race. Curtis sees his skills and wants to work with him to make some money, only for this to bring out an even worse side to him character. Curtis is a poker player and gambler who just enjoys the games, he knows when to walk away even if he is giving up his love to continue to move around to follow his own dream. When it comes to the rest of the characters we meet the people on the journey whose lives have been effected by their gambling actions.
Performances – Ben Mendelsohn gives us a wonderful look at a character that has become consumed by gambling addiction, he shows how he can come off helpless, but will do anything to get his latest fix. Ryan Reynolds brings the charming gambler to life here, which isn’t going to be difficult because this is the type of character he can play in his sleep. The supporting cast are strong when needed without getting too much screen time.
Story – The story follows two gamblers at different stages of their addictions who go on a road trip in an attempt to complete one big score only to see just how they are going to get their latest fix. This shows us how easily the addiction can consume the victim and however hard they try, they will always be drawn back causing pain to their loved ones. We do have a couple of loose ends which don’t get added up together because certain elements in Curtis’s life just don’t feel complete. This does feel like it could have had a much darker because of the subject matter and by the end it does feel like the story falls slightly short.
Comedy – The comedy comes from just how Curtis handles everything, it isn’t a laugh out loud comedy, but one that you can see the positive vibes.
Settings – The film takes us on a list of gambling locations on the road which shows how they know where to go for them.
Final Thoughts – This is a very strong look at gambling addiction and is one that should show how the addicts can ruin their lives with their actions.
Overall: Gambling the not so dark side.