Another thrilling blockbuster by the ‘Social Network’ screenwriter in collaboration with some of Hollywood’s most renowned actors like Jessica Chastain definitely took a lot of people by surprise. The reason is that the movie seemed to be shockingly cinematic for someone like Aaron Sorkin, who is known for his volubility and never fails to distinguish himself from the rest of Hollywood screenwriters. This time he managed to do that by taking a very unique approach. Instead of keeping things a mystery and leaving the audience guessing, he decided to go with the show more, and show it fast philosophy. And it turns out he made the correct call as it works wonders in a movie, that’s about stakes and adrenaline, set in the world of underground poker.
Even though he was once accused of misogyny, he managed to deliver an amazing leading female character, Molly Bloom, as self-made gambling madam who built a multi-million-dollar poker empire, which later gets her into a very sticky situation. Chastain’s stratospheric talent was just what this movie needed to make it the dynamic, dense, and unforgettable experience it is. And even though, there are many powerful men around her, Chastain still succeeds at being in control and not being taken lightly in an industry that provides an alarming deficit of strong female role models.
The movie opens up by Molly, an almost-Olympic skier, having already lost everything after a horrible incident which resulted in back injury and the script goes on to create a real bond between Molly and the audience, making us all root for her to overcome the obstacles. After having driven a wedge in the already turbulent relationship with her father, Molly decides to shift gears and starts focusing on making money.
The thing is that even though Chastain’s character is depicted as a wicked-smart, unintimidated, and savvy person, playing at an underground casino, where the buy-in is $10,000 and people have lost nearly a million, Molly feels a sense of unease but still manages to look completely unbothered.
The heat rises when her boss, who was the one who brought her into the world of poker and casino games, decides to cut her off, which he would later regret. As a response to this, Molly decides to take his contact list and establish her own rival poker showroom. Many of the rich and famous decide to follow her mainly because a movie star in the film made that switch. But they all stayed, because Molly was genuinely good at what she was doing.
But after the second time that men tried to elbow her out of the business, Molly decides to move to New York and establish an even more exclusive and high-stake game. But things take a turn as she develops a substance abuse problem and accidentally opens the game to three different Russian crime family members. This catches the attention of federal agents which results in Molly getting arrested and sued by the government. And this is exactly where the movie starts. Literally. The script jumps back and forth between the court case and the unbelievable backstory that got her there. And this is exactly why it’s impossible to feel at ease while watching this movie.
The plot reaches its peak when Molly gets to confront her father, which leads to a dazzling scene of on-screen psychotherapy. At this point, what matters the most is human reconciliation and the judge’s verdict hardly even matters.
Worth your time. Watch it now on Netflix.