Molly's Game

February, 2018, Drama

Molly’s Game

Having written a pair of highly successful television series on the intersection of politics and the media (The West Wing, The Newsroom) as well as a clutch of commercially successful Hollywood films (Money Ball, Social Network, A Few Good Men) prolific screenwriter Aaaron Sorkin has chosen to make his debut as a director by adapting for the screen the autobiography of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-level skier who became notorious for running high stakes poker games in Los Angeles and New York City before running afoul of The Feds.

 Sorkin casts Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty, The Martian, Interstellar) as Molly and British television actor Idris Elba as the attorney who reluctantly takes her case, which centers on her refusal to identify her clients when she’s criminally indicted. Sorkin provides glimpses of Bloom’s career by moving through a series of flashbacks intended to show a woman with more intelligence than good sense and in the process, manages to make her customers look pathetically dull.

 The net result of this 2 hour 20 minute exploration of Bloom’s walk on the wild side provides Sorkin ample opportunity to display his skills at writing great dialogue (the movie’s an Oscar contender next month for its screenplay) without providing any rationale for caring very much about Bloom’s life or her legal battles with the federal government. Chastain’s attractive and Elba’s enormously likeable as her attorney, but the net result of watching this movie is….who should care?

 The Verdict? Lots of cinematic talent deployed to little purpose unless you’re planning to become a professional card shark.    

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