a MOLLY'S GAME musing
As a sucker for anything Sorkin, though admittedly not having seen his work pre-THE SOCIAL NETWORK, I was excited for what Aaron Sorkin would bring to the (poker) table from behind the camera. The answer is, sadly, not much. That isn’t to say that MOLLY’S GAME is a bad movie. It’s just visually uninteresting. Otherwise, holy crap, this movie rocks.
Jessica Chastain, who always kills in any role she’s in, absolutely murders every moment here. Throughout the whole movie, she’s simultaneously strong, vulnerable, smart and compelling. It’s unfortunate that it stems from daddy issues, but scenes between her and her father (Kevin Costner) are written and acted so damn well that it’s easy to overlook. Chastain’s soft voice is a nice contrast to the hard hitting dialogue she’s given, and when she goes toe-to-toe with her lawyer, played by Idris Elba, it’s fireworks on screen.
Elba and the rest of the ensemble do great working handling the pacing of and the dialogue itself, but the directing struggles to add anything more to the writing. We get lots of mostly static actors and barely any camera movement or a unique, striking look for the movie; this doesn’t set it apart from another biographical film. The few poker table scenes have an extra oomph and flair, but I would attribute that more to the writing rather than the directing. Had this been directed by a steadier hand with a better vision of the story, this could have been on a completely different level.
MOLLY’S GAME is densely written, but always easy to follow if you know what to expect from Sorkin. Although my problems with the movie are few but pivotal, Chastain shines in this story about a woman who is willing to admit to her shady past, is ready to face the consequences, and looking out for herself and the interests of her customers. Molly Bloom wants to be a good person in the end, and, although the directing can’t catch up to it, the amazing script delves into the story’s inherent darkness and never folds.
RATING: BEST OF THE BEST
(Refer to my rating system HERE!)