Molly’s Game – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Molly’s Game – 4/5 –  The power of words can sway crowds.  This works with any medium, including film.  No matter what genre, the power of the script can move an audience to joy, laughter or tears.  For all the visual prowess, the visual can only be matched by a well written script.  Molly’s Game is Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut.  Based on true events, Molly’s Game is a dialogue driven thriller that shows the risk that one woman takes to get to the top of illegal high-stakes gambling.  With strong characters and an amazing script, Molly’s Game is an enticing journey that will have you guessing what will happen in the end.

Premise: The true tale about Molly Bloom, a former Olympic skier who became famous through her high-stakes poker games.

In the lead role of Molly Bloom is Jessica Chastain.  She does an excellent job in exuding strong commandment on the big screen.  Her vivid complexion is heightened by her subtle use of mannerisms and sex appeal.  You get to see a person that is strong, visceral, calculated but humble.  The layers show her quick wits and intellect as she navigates the poker games she sets up in Los Angeles and New York.  With each interaction, she tackles every obstacle with a relative feel that exudes growth within her own flaws.  Chastain’s strong aura on the screen is award worthy.  For the rest of the cast, please refer to the film’s IMDb page.  The ancillary characters do an excellent job creating a living/breathing world.  They create a place where everyone comes across as tangible, layered but obscure.  Everyone from Idris Elba’s Charlie Jaffey to Michael Cera’s Player X are deeply distinct through slick dialogue, unique mannerism and unpredictable circumstances.  The subtle depth combined with the ‘true story’ elements leads to a dynamism that creates a ‘third’ character to the story.  Being the heart of the film, the script enriches the world for all the characters.  This helps add another appeal of believability that allows the audience to feel closure to Molly and everyone in her life.

From the onset, you realize that this is writer’s film.  Based on true events, Aaron Sorkin takes the material and morphs it into a story that is commanded by dialogue.  This allows the characters to move freely through the material where they map out the important events through words, gestures and interactions.  This allows for the obvious to become actual, as if you are living it in real-time.  From the beginning, the script blends the ‘rags to riches’ theme to Molly Blooms life that is broken up between the past and present.  This allows for an understanding of why she went from an exceptional athletic life to the owner of a highly sought after underground gambling ring.  With voiceovers, heavy exposition and common ‘family’ influences, you watch as Molly navigates egos, money and federal laws that put her life at risk.  Watching this unfold, it moves the story at an unhinged ‘back and forth’ pace through conversations.  You watch as the Molly works her way through the worlds of Los Angeles and New York; learning, planning and outwitting each person methodically.  With a script that hinges on quick dynamics and realistic reactions, the conversations between her and other characters show why certain things in the past lead to her unique situation in the present.  Another element that is done well by the script is the living approach introduced to the story.  Instead of being an observer, you are ‘living’ through Molly in her ups and downs.  As the film moves between the timelines at a quick pace, the heighten awareness of what is at stake brings to light everything in Molly Bloom’s life.  Through this, it gives the expression of realistic appeal that creates a character dynamic that brings out the drama, tension and random comedic one-liners through believable situations.  Nothing comes across as formulaic, even though everything is based on true events.  Knowing what words to use, how to bring characters together and moving perception through singular insight shines a light on Aaron Sorkin’s ability to write a script that is tight, focused and enthralling.  As you head into the final act, everything leads to a very convenient climax.  Even when it feels a little too obvious, you do enjoy how Molly’s story concludes.

The visuals are basic complexion of New York City and Los Angeles.  A film that is solely based on character interaction, the simple aesthetic keeps everything grounded.  This accentuates the mood of the close quarters, but it isn’t anything grand.  The score is non-existent; not playing an integral part in the film.

Molly’s Game is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that embraces drama through simple use of dialogue.  With a great lead and an amazing look at high-stakes poker, you will not be disappointed.  If you’re a fan of Aaron Sorkin, this is one for you.  It is worth the full price of admission; see this at the theaters.

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