Runner Runner

Out Now On-Demand

Play, or be played.

Ben Affleck is Ivan, a gambling mastermind and the wealthy head of an online betting operation in this crime thriller. After Princeton student Richie (Justin Timberlake) cracks the online game but is swindled out of the winnings, he travels to Costa Rica to confront Ivan. Instead, the pair hit it off and Richie is brought into the operation. But as the stakes rise, the protege comes to fully understand the deviousness of his new boss and attempts to turn the tables on him. From the writers of Ocean’s 13 and co-starring Gemma Arterton (Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters).

Trailers

Directed by

Drama, Thriller

91mins

Rating: M Violence, offensive language and sex scenes

USA

Official Site

From the writers of Rounders, but closer in quality to 21, Brad (The Lincoln Lawyer) Furman’s online gaming thriller is a strange beast. There’s nothing glaringly wrong with it, but it’s so glossily mediocre that it’s impossible to recommend to anyone not contemplating a lengthy plane journey.

As if carrying on from The Social Network, JT plays an online poker ace trying to pay his way through Princeton, despite being 32 and, to all intents and purposes, Justin Timberlake. After being cheated by Ben Affleck’s big cheese, he flies to Costa Rica to complain in person. “Let’s think this through for a second,” warns his best friend, shorthand for: “This makes absolutely no sense at all.” Soon Affleck’s giving our hero one of those inexplicable criminal apprenticeships that only happen in the movies. Why? “I look at you and I see myself,” he purrs. Oh OK.

Although you can see the appeal of tooling round South America pretending to be gangsters for the actors, there’s much less in it for the audience. Timberlake and Affleck make uneasy leading men, Gemma Arterton is underused, as usual, and there’s next to no jeopardy. Timberlake’s biggest worry seems to be whether he’ll end up “rich or super-rich”, Affleck barely breaks a sweat even when he’s feeding local dignitaries to the crocodiles, and a familiar Faustian narrative plays out to anonymous EDM. “It is what it is, sorry pal!” says Affleck, a shrugged apology for a film that promises much, but only delivers a facsimile of real fun – a bit like online gaming.

Empire (UK)

press

However exotic the locations and starry the stars, there’s no escaping this is The Devil’s Advocate of online gambling. Fold.

Guardian (UK)

press

This is a lazy, trashy film that barely goes through the motions.

Hollywood Reporter

press

What's actually up onscreen in this vaguely ambitious but tawdry melodrama falls into an in-between no-man's-land that endows it with no distinction whatsoever, a work lacking both style and insight into the netherworld it seeks to reveal.

Total Film (UK)

press

Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck give their best poker faces but ultimately fail to convince you to gamble your cash away on this limp, unoriginal story of a man out of his depth.

Variety (UK)

press

Runner Runner’s appeal increases dramatically whenever Affleck enters the frame.

Dissolve (USA)

press

It puts a premium on sleight-of-hand cleverness and glossy style, but it isn't particularly clever or stylish.

New York Times

press

It feels like a halfhearted bluff and has the stale smell of yesterday's after-shave.

Runner Walk Sleeper

Runner Runner

Justin Timberlake smashes into another film, his last good semi-hit was 'In Time' which I loved. This I thought was going to be better than it was, had a sort of 'Ocean's 11' feel, with a '21' reboot. For this reason it didn't rate to highly with me, popcorn range at best, sorry Justin.

Genre : Crime, thriller, card games

2/5 : Most of the film felt like it had been rehased from another film.


Disappointingly tame

Sadly, Ben Affleck is phoning in his performance, Justin Timberlake struggles to keep us interested and Gemma Arterton is criminally under-used in this boring thriller. Online gambling is big business but this tired and cliche-driven flick will sink without a trace. Not even the glamorous locations and brief running time can save it.