(2013) (Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake) (R)
- QUICK TAKE:
- Thriller: After being cheated by an online gaming website, a Princeton graduate student travels to Costa Rica to confront its enigmatic founder and becomes seduced into a life of crime.
- Richie Furst (JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE) is a Princeton graduate student who lost his job on Wall Street when the Great Recession hit in 2008. Mired in student debt, he does side work as an affiliate for major online gambling websites recruiting other students and even some of his professors to bet and bet big online. When the Dean finds out about his activities, he threatens expulsion. With student loans coming due, Richie opts to go online and play numerous rounds of high-stakes poker. For a while, he is up big. But then he gets wiped out and discovers that he was cheated.
Richie does some research and determines that the site was operated by an online gambling mogul named Ivan Block (BEN AFFLECK), who runs all of his businesses in Costa Rica. Richie travels there to confront the man, who blames the glitch on some shady programmers he has since fired. Richie is quickly seduced by Ivan's charm and wealth and agrees to work for him. He is also attracted to Rebecca (GEMMA ARTERTON), Block's beautiful assistant who has been with him from the start.
Soon, though, he comes to realize that Block is involved in some highly illegal activities, including fraud, bribery, and extortion. An FBI agent named Shavers (ANTHONY MACKIE) rides him and tries to get him to flip. When Ivan gets wind of this, he uses Richie's gambling addict father, Harry (JOHN HEARD), as leverage to keep him in line. Costa Rica's corrupt Gaming Commissioner Herrera (YUL VAZQUEZ), meanwhile, threatens to do Richie physical harm if his boss doesn't pay him more money to look the other way. With seemingly no way out, a desperate Richie looks to turn the tables on Ivan and beat him at his own game.
- WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
- Older teens will likely have some interest due to Timberlake in the lead role.
- WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
- For language and some sexual content.
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