Molly’s Game review by Bobby Blakey
Jessica Chastain is easily one of the most powerful female actors out there so anytime she has a new film coming out you know you are in for something special. Her latest Molly’s Game features a great supporting cast including Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, and Chris O’Dowd with Aaron Sorkin at the helm taking on his first directing job, but does it offer up the same powerful storytelling Sorkin is known for or will it be a game not worth finishing?
The film follows true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey, who learned that there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led us to believe. Sorkin is a genius with putting words on the page that translate into some of the best TV shows and movies out there so I was eager to see what he could do stepping in as both writer and director and he did not disappoint. The structure of this film is perfect offering up a split timeline at times so that you get the current situation, the rise of her career in gaming and her childhood without ever feeling too bloated. I’m usually not a fan of narration in movies because most of the time they come off just treating the viewer like they are stupid to tell the story, but here it adds to the overall element to push things forward in a way that makes it all the better.
The cast are all great, but this is Chastain’s how all the way. Much like her previous film Mrs. Sloane, she showcases a powerful female character full of confidence and beauty while still being flawed. She is always great to watch on screen and here once again proves that she is one of the best actresses working today. The quick witted dialogue throughout the film, especially between Chastain and Elba is perfectly executed and makes the film feel so much more real and effective.
This is a dialogue and character driven feature that showcases brilliant writing, acting and directing that worked on every level for me. It is almost two and a half hours long, but never felt long to me thanks to being fully engaged to what was on screen. I hope this is not the only time Sorkin steps behind the camera because he has delivered a great film and coupled with his always great writing could make him one of the best filmmakers around.