Runner Runner is a newly released film on DVD/Blu Ray that stars Justin Timberlake in the lead role as Richie Furst who is the main character and Ben Affleck as Ivan Block who is the films villain. It also stars Gemma Arteton as Rebecca Shafran who acts as a type of love interest. Runner Runner is directed by Brad Furman who some may know for his work with the Lincoln Lawyer (2011).
Most of the plot of this film is completely given away in the trailer above, but essentially it’s a story about Richie Furst who is a student at Princeton university trying to pay his bills. He concludes that the only way he can get this money is to gamble all the money he has on an internet gambling site. He wins at first then loses it all. But when analyzing the players, he learns that he has been cheated. Richie Furst takes it upon himself to fly to Costa Rica and personally let the owner of the site Ivan Block (Ben Affleck) know that someone is cheating on his website. Ivan Block then offers him either his money back or a job; with all the promises of paradise, wealth and women. Richie Furst takes the paradise choice and well the movie goes from there. We see Block taint poor Richie Furst with his corrupt ways as the film goes on…..
This film is an okay rental and something okay if you can’t find anything else to watch this week. It’s not necessarily a boring film but it’s not necessarily super entertaining either. It’s just sort of there and you can get through watching it without much issues. After viewing Runner Runner I thought it could have been much more than it was and seems to have suffered from some poor pacing of its story and some lackluster performances from the actors.
The acting in the film is mixed. I didn’t mind Justin Timberlake’s performance in this film because he was sort of a similar character to his The Social Network (2010) character Sean Parker. Timberlake is good in this role and especially from the material he got. He came across as a smart guy, who was good and just wanted to get rich, except he made some terrible decisions. Unfortunately for this film though it’s Ben Affleck’s performance that lets it down completely. As a villain and a dangerous threat in this movie there was none. A lot of his scenes did not have any emotion or expression and his voice was always calm. It terms of villains I’ve seen this year I would say Ivan Block as played by Ben Affleck was the worst one I have seen in a long time. There was absolutely nothing scary or threatening about him, there was just nothing there. There is a quote in this movie from Ivan Block where he says to Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) “That little voice in the back of your head right now, it’s not your conscience, it’s fear” is delivered without any thought of fear at all and had no impact on me as a viewer.
Other actors like Gemma Arteton and her accent were okay but weren’t really in Runner Runner enough to give a proper mention about their performances. Gemma Arteton character of Rebecca was never properly explained or realised and seemed just added in to create a bit of sex appeal or something to get this movie over the 91 minutes run time it needed to fill.
I’m not sure if it was just poor directing or a bad screenplay but the pacing in this movie was far too quick. One minute Richie Furst is looking for Ivan Block who is supposed to be impossible to find, next scene he goes to a party… and finds him straight away. The timing of this movie is also skewed, it’s like months passed by for these characters but none of them changed or progressed in any way at all. Also characters were added in to a loft type of room who seemed to be friends with Richie Furst but had no back story or development, they were just there all of a sudden and by the end of the film they were gone and never heard back from. There is also the case of Richie Furst’s father Harry Furst who is played by John Heard who is not resolved at the end of the film, even though he should be. It’s like a lot of the sub characters are completely forgotten.
Overall Runner Runner is not anything special. It provides a bit of distraction for someone for 91 minutes and you can sit through it quite easily. Don’t expect much from this movie, but if you don’t have anything to do, 91 minutes is a good time filler. It’s up to you if you want to spend it with Runner Runner or not. I wasn’t bored throughout my viewing but I definitely wasn’t impressed either, it just was something I watched that filled some time during the day. There are much better movies to choose from and rent out there other than Runner Runner.