Right and wrong in film ‘Runner, Runner’

runner-runner-poster08Everyone dreams of living a life of richness and being able to get whatever one wants. In the film “Runner, Runner,” billionaire Ivan Block (Ben Affleck, “Argo”) gives Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake, “Trouble with the Curve”) the opportunity to live the dream life. But what is Furst willing to risk for it?

Furst is a Princeton student and online gambling site affiliate. After being cheated on an online gambling site, Furst flies to Costa Rica — where site owner Block is operating from — to let him know.

Block recognizes Furst’s wit, understanding of gambling and marketing know-how. He asks Furst to remain in Costa Rica to work for him. Furst accepts, dropping his college obligations for the fast life of money, women, violence and gambling. FBI agent Shavers (Anthony Mackie, “The Fifth Estate”) confronts Furst about his activity. Furst must choose between the high life under Block and living an honest life back in the United States.

The film begins very quickly and jumps into the plot almost immediately. This makes it a little cheesy, but it still establishes a sound background for Timberlake’s character, Richie Furst. The film continues with a storyline that makes the viewer question what they would do in Furst’s shoes.

The dialogue was a bit shaky at times, but it wasn’t bad overall. There were even some humorous one-liners for a film that’s outside the comedy genre.

The character development of Timberlake’s character is also convincing. Furst must gamble a steady life for the opportunity to live the high life. He questions what is right the deeper he gets into his new life.

Block pressures him to continually perform criminal actions, saying, “If your boss says you have to go out there and take a beating, take it and say ‘Do you need me to do it again?’” As well as receiving pressure from Block, Agent Shavers pressures Furst to get Block arrested. Furst is forced to question his moral behavior with pressure from both sides in a realistic and believable manner.

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The film is definitely not the best Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake have done, but it is still worth seeing in theaters. It has the whole gamut when it comes to movies, is believable and is entertaining to watch. The only complaint is that Ben Afleck, a New England Patriots fan, chose to play Block, who is a Pittsburg Steelers fan — but it does speak wonders of his acting abilities.

Movie: “Runner, Runner”
Release date: Oct. 4, 2013
Director: Brad Furman
Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton, Ben Affleck
Rating: 4/5


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