Film Review: Runner Runner

Runner Runner
Runner Runner is an unusual film. It had me pretty divided. I loved the three main ’big guns’; Gemma Atherton, Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake. The plot and direction I did struggle with. I’ll get to that soon.

It’s all about a struggling student, Richie Furst (Timberlake) whose cheated out of an online game, which he would have won to sort out his financial mess. Hmm. Not the most promising of plots but I’ve encountered worse!

He’s getting money for his degree by telling students about on-line gambling. He gets money for recommendations. Rather like some home shopping catalogues give you money in your account for getting a friend to join – but Ritchie gets actual money! (Lucky him!)

The difference is Ivan Block (Affleck), who cheats cheater Richie; is just better at it. Richie flies to meet Ivan in Costa Rica to confront him. He ends up working for Ivan and having an affair with Ivan’s ex (Atherton). Then the film turns with a corrupt FBI agent kidnapping Richie, demanding he help being Ivan down. As far as the agent is concerned, Ivan has brought about Doomsday! A tad extreme, but there you go.

As the film progresses the plots get wilder, Ivan shipping in Richie’s father, the money does exist – no it doesn’t.. it’s electronic… and so it goes on, the plot holes are massive. I did not feel sympathy for Richie being cheated – when he was doing wrong in the first place by the way he got the recommendations. Trying to hide it from the Dean? Come on, you know he’s going to find out!

Why would you work for someone who cheated you? How can Richie fly to Costa Rica if he’s lost all his money? How was the money tied up in the website? I’m not tech savvy so it was lost on me as where the money actually was! And the biggest question – at which point did I actually stop caring?

Was the director trying to say something about real money and that it’s mostly electronic now with computers and smart phone you can swipe barcodes with? Little explanations and silly sideline plots.

It was all about Affleck and Timberlake in a gorgeous island setting. Yachts, beaches and games. All good but that wasn‘t the point of this film. If it was, I would been just happy as Larry to sail around the world with them. Timberlake and Affleck should do another film, wasn’t there a true story about a couple of guys sailing around the world?

This venture however lacked proper vision to keep focus on what the point was. Atherton is a wonderful actress, yet again she’s used as the love object with little to do. It’s a shame as she’s very good.

Where was the imagination? The thrill? The difference? The fireworks? This movie is straight guide into why films should have an accountant on site to prevent overspending! Maybe they were trying to be clever like the series Lost? But it was more like Clueless. Even BBC’s 1 new hero Jason wouldn’t be able to save this viewing.

This, after much debate, internal argument and many chocolate biscuits, I will be giving 5/10. Not the worst, but could’ve been better. Go watch it for the stars but never for the plot!

Image reproduced from
Trailer reproduced from YouTube / 20th Century Fox