Molly’s Game review by Jez Gibson

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Aaron Sorkin bets big on his muse Molly Bloom in this dazzling directorial debut.

 

I was totally unaware of the story of the real life Molly Bloom. She went from being an Olympic level skier to being an FBI target in the last few years based on her part in instigating and running some of the most notorious high stakes poker games in the world.

 

You may find it hard to believe that the wordsmith and creative genius Aaron Sorkin is behind just a couple of titles you may have heard of (The West Wing, The Newsroom, A Few Good Men, The Social Network, Moneyball and Steve Jobs). Well, he has actually finally taken directorial charge of his first feature film.

There’s a lot more TV and film credentials I’ve left off here, but this is a guy who was a super smart lawyer, with a super smart mouth. He has not felt compelled to be that guy who wants to be known for being in front of the camera, instead building a reputation as someone who creates magic through dialogue and story that make for very watchable films.

If you remember The West Wing or The Social Network well, you’ll be familiar with having to keep up with the speed of plot and wit that thrown at you super quick. Sorkin is also a sucker for complex and compelling characters that allow him to build and develop his story. He is a master of “schmaltz”, that effortlessly hits a “feel good” sweet spot. Some will never be able to achieve this so darn well.

 

Like Sorkin and many men in the film itself, we are seduced by the character and story of Molly Bloom, who’s book the film is based on. Bloom was integral to the process of bringing the film to screen and it has been said that she asked that Jessica Chastain play her directly.

Jessica Chastain’s Molly looks like she has walked off of a shoot from a Coco by Chanel ad, but brings so much more than a pretty face and figure to the table. In fact one of my few problems with the film are that I think although Molly was dressed to entice and tempt men to her poker games, this is over indulged. We get the point, we already know she looks great and understand something of the nature of Molly’s character, but the camera could have spent more time on the nuances of Chastains superlative performance.

So the pedigree of our director and his writing is very strong, as is our lead.

The film is also more than ably supported by an in form Idris Elba, and Kevin Costner who still packs a punch with the little screen time he has. Stylistically the film feels like an Oceans movie, with the brains of the Social Network and the morality and cautionary notes taken from the likes of Moneyball, Steve Jobs and The West Wing.

 

An informative, sassy, smart, sexy and sophisticated start to 2018, Molly’s Game is great cinema and another Sorkin success that you should take a seat at the table for – 9/10.