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Westside Steve

Molly's game review

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Molly's Game
STX films
R.               140 min

I was a little surprised that this one didn’t get more screens in the area, especially due to the size of the advertising campaign and the track record of Aaron Sorkin, but there are only a handful of spots to see one of the only new releases this week. Also I’ve never heard of the Distribution Company so… This is the screen adaptation of the autobiography of the same name by Molly Bloom, whose brush with Winter Olympic greatness translated into a career in the almost legal world of big stakes poker. I’m almost always intrigued by behind-the-scenes looks at this type of American pastime, gambling, horse racing, scam artist Etc. and to an extent found some interest in MOLLY'S’s GAME. This one reminded me a little bit of the classic gambling flick CASINO but without the action or the larger-than-life performances. The characters here, including Miss Bloom (Jessica Chastain) herself, might have varying amounts of personality but no one stays on screen long enough to gather any empathy.  She has an ex boss who is little more than just an pooper, a twisted kid who gambles merely for the fun of destroying people’s lives, a handful of losers infected with gambling fever and a few Russian mobsters none of which are fleshed out well enough to create interest. There is her father, however, played by Kevin Costner with whom she seems to have had a strained relationship since she was a child, but his screen time is as limited as the rest.
The gist of the story is two fold first a glance at building the poker empire and also the persecution from the FBI for what seems to be minor breach of the law. I don’t think anyone in the audience wants to see this personable and attractive young woman destroyed because of a card game. Nor could I work up a sweat worrying about whether or not her book would name names which is another part of the story. I can’t imagine why I would care if I found out that a movie star a politician or a professional athlete was winning or losing at the poker table. 
Anyway maybe her book tells a more riveting tale that gets lost in the screen adaptation, but there is no way to tell here. Still I thought it interesting enough for a weak recommendation.

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