April 3, 2018
Box Office $28.78 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for language, drug content and some violence.
Stars Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd, Bill Camp.
With its exploration of the tawdry world of underground gambling, not to mention a tour of the criminal justice system after its protagonist gets caught, Molly’s Game seems like the perfect subject matter for the Aaron Sorkin treatment.
The film is based on the same-titled memoir by Molly Bloom, a former competitive skier who ended up running a series of illegal, high-stakes poker rooms in Los Angeles and New York.
In making his directorial debut as well as writing the screenplay, Sorkin must have had a field day with the material, as the story allows him to indulge himself with the kind of expositional flourishes that often populate his trademark witty banter, as he gets to have the characters explain to each other (and the audience) all the intricacies of poker, gambling, shady business dealings and legal minutiae.
The film is structured a bit like The Social Network, in that the main story is told through a series of flashbacks in discussions with lawyers in preparation for court. Chastain shines as Bloom, front and center and in command of the proceedings as she refuses to be bullied or outmaneuvered, even in the face of pure physical brutality.
Molly’s Game clocks in at 141 minutes, but despite its wordiness it doesn’t feel like a chore to sit through thanks to a brisk pace and good performances from the rest of the likeable cast as well, particularly Idris Elba as Bloom’s attorney, and Kevin Costner as her father.
Unfortunately, the disc is rather barren of bonus material, featuring just a single three-minute behind-the-scenes featurette that appears to have been culled from the promotional campaign.