R Dir: Aaron Sorkin | Universal | 2h 20min
Plot: What’s it about?
In what was a surprise hit late last year, Molly’s Game is a fact-based story about Molly Bloom. She was an Olympic-class skier who started her own high-stakes poker game before finally being arrested by the FBI. Jessica Chastain stars as Molly Bloom, and gives a magnificent performance. This is very much her show, but we’re also treated to strong performances from Idris Elba and Kevin Costner in just a few scenes. It’s an exciting and well-acted film that’ll stay with you after it has ended.
I am by no means a poker fan nor will I lie and say I understand it. That hardly matters as Chastain provides a running narration which keeps us involved and following along all without talking down to the audience. We the film begins we learn that Bloom is severely injured during a skiing accident. Taking some time for herself, she decides to leave law school for a year and move to Los Angeles. She bartends and finds work in an office where her boss treats her like dirt and puts her in charge of contacting people for an underground poker game. Her rules are simple, but after a falling out with her boss, she decides to steal the names and numbers of his contacts and moves the poker game to a penthouse at a hotel. Molly, as we learned in the opening moments of the film is highly intelligent. While she knows little about poker, she’s quick to learn important terms. This comes in handy for her when she takes control of the game. There are various celebrities that were rumored to have participated in these games, but the names are not revealed in this film. For instance, one character is simply named Player X. As Molly grows more and more popular, so does trouble for more. Before long, the Russian mob is involved. The film cuts back and forth between Molly’s narration and her meetings with her lawyer, Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba). We’re also treated to a few scenes between Molly and her strict father played by Kevin Costner.
I had seen Jessica Chastain in a movie or two years back, but it wasn’t until I saw her work in this film that she really got my attention. She owns the character here. She’s intelligent, fast-talking and never succumbs to the various advances by the players in the games. It’s interesting to see this character evolve over the course of the film. Whether you’re a poker fan or not, the film is a must-see. Despite running over 2 hours, it really zips by.
Video: How’s it look?
We get an attractive, AVC encoded 2.39:1 transfer here. With a clean print and bright and bold colors, there’s little to complain about here. Whether in a low rent building or a penthouse, the transfer always satisfies. Details are strong on facial features and textures on clothing. All things considered, this transfer will please fans.
Audio: How’s it sound?
While there’s a lot of dialogue here, there are also loud scenes of character playing poker. Vocals are always clear and audible as well as the rear channels, which kick in throughout the film. There’s music heard on several occasions as well as some background city noise. This remained an active and engaging track.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Building an Empire – Sadly this is the lone feature on the disc. It plays out like an extended trailer. This film calls for at least a documentary or audio commentary, but no such luck.
The Bottom Line
My review can’t really do justice to seeing the film play out, largely Jessica Chastain’s performance here. She owns this film. The story itself is also involving and moves along nicely. Recommended.