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Molly's Game - A solid directorial debut from acclaimed screenwriter Aaron Sorkin

by Roisin Gordon. Published Mon 22 Jan 2018 00:17, last updated: 22/01/18

Aaron Sorkin has proven to be one of the most talented screenwriters in Hollywood, having won an Oscar for his screenplay The Social Network. Sorkin now showcases his talent behind the camera with his directorial debut Molly’s Game, where he delivers another fantastic screenplay as well as terrific performances amongst the cast.

The film is based on the true story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), who ran one of the biggest and most exclusive high-stakes poker operations, as she comes under surveillance by the FBI after it was discovered that the Russian mob were also part of her poker circle.

Throughout the film are flashbacks of Molly’s life as we see the events in her life that led to the eventual rise of her poker empire, which are tied together with present day scenes of Molly and her lawyer Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba) preparing for her to face federal charges.

We learn that Molly once had a promising olympic career as a skier, which came to an end after an accident during a tournament left her injured and led her to find a different career path.

Molly gained employment as a personal assistant to a real estate agent who ran underground poker games on the side with Molly’s assistance, with players that included Hollywood royalty, business tycoons and sports stars. Soon enough, Molly gained the knowledge and experience she needed to become the brains behind her own poker empire.

Molly’s story is both an impressive and fascinating one, you become invested in her journey, as you come to admire Molly’s determination and her natural ability of quick learnings about business dealings and learning about the world of poker.

Even when she is sucked into some of the darker aspects of her success that includes getting involved with drugs and some shady figures, Sorkin’s talents as a screenwriter allows you to become drawn towards the characters you see on-screen, despite their faults.

This film is no exception, as Sorkin does a fantastic job in helping us get to know the real Molly Bloom, in contrast to the party girl persona that the press makes her out to be. Instead we see an intelligent and determined businesswoman, who you find yourself respecting throughout her journey for her tenacity even when she’s faced with hardships.

Whilst the story and characters are fascinating to watch, at times it feels like the story throws a little too much at you at once, especially with Sorkin’s trademark fast-paced dialogue, it can be a little tricky to keep up with.

Jessica Chastain gives a powerhouse performance as Molly, whose intelligent and confident persona allows her to hold a commanding on-screen presence, as you follow her through her ups and downs of success.

In what is definitely one of her greatest performances to date, Chastain is definitely a worthy contender for awards season.

Idris Elba gives an equally respectable performance, as Molly’s lawyer Charlie bringing both heart and gravitas to the character, especially with his on-screen relationship with Chastain. We see him form a genuine bond with Molly, as he is shown to be initially uncertain about her innocence but gradually gets to know the real Molly and not the image painted by the tabloids.

Kevin Costner’s small but memorable role as Molly’s father was fantastic, showing him as a strict force who has always pushed Molly hard throughout her life and how his lessons show to stick with her throughout her journey.

Costner could have easily played him as the typical overbearing father, but he does have some really good emotional scenes between him and Chastain to work off.

Another actor with a small but memorable role was Michael Cera as Player X, who is an amalgamation of celebrity poker players that was involved in Molly’s circle.

Coming across as arrogant yet talented and charming, who tries to play Molly at her own game, it was fun to see Cera play against type of his usual shy and nerdy characters.

Molly’s Game serves as an interesting look at true events which fuelled by the performances from the two leads and proves to be a fantastic directorial debut from Aaron Sorkin.

Purple Revolver Rating: 4/5- A fascinating dramatisation of true events


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