Director: Aaron Sorkin
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner
Release Date: April 10, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
Molly’s Game is based on the true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons. Her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey, who learned that there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led us to believe.
Based on the true story of Molly Bloom and on her own book; ‘Molly’s Game’ tells the story of Olympic freestyle skier Molly (Chastain) who following a tragic injury finds herself in a dead-end job that leads to unexpected opportunity when she’s asked to host an underground poker game for the boss. Playing her cards carefully, Molly soon seizes the game for her own and finds herself living luxuriously thanks to the sizeable courtesies extended to her for hosting the weekly games comprised of famous and powerful individuals. But as she expands out and finds herself entirely on her own, a few questionable decisions eventually lead to her arrest and subsequent trial where she must fight to clear her name and do what she believes to be right.
Directed by Aaron Sorkin (writer of ‘A Few Good Men’, ‘The Social Network’ and more) from his own screenplay which was based upon the book by the real life Molly Bloom respectively, Sorkin does a wonderful job at the helm of ‘Molly’s Game’ which also marks his directorial debut, another task which he clearly has a knack for. The film also owes a good share of credit to the talented cast which includes Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Idris Elba (Star Trek: Beyond), Kevin Costner (Hidden Figures), Michael Cera (TV’s Arrested Development), Jeremy Strong (The Big Short), Chris O’Dowd (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), Bill Camp (Midnight Special) and more, nearly all delivering solid performances in each of their respective roles, especially Chastain and Elba who are both exceptional here to say the least.
‘Molly’s Game’ is a wonderful film, and quite likely not entirely what you’d expect, yet fortunately in the best way possible. Based on the true story of Molly Bloom, the film does a magnificent job taking viewers along for a tense, moving and at times gorgeous tale that swaps between covering the defense plan of Molly and her Lawyer following her arrest, while also providing us a detailed look at the events and moves that eventually led to that arrest at gunpoint by the FBI. With intoxicating dialogue and exchanges, a smooth and fast paced course and some unexpectedly moving moments that really form this true tale into something special, ‘Molly’s Game’ is a definite win that never loses its footing and delivers a massively entertaining experience from start to finish, never feeling dull or tired even with a runtime of just over 140 minutes. The film also marks a stellar directorial debut from acclaimed and talented writer Aaron Sorkin (who also penned the screenplay) whose careful guidance is tremendously complimented by a powerhouse cast led by Jessica Chastain who is nothing short of spectacular in her portrayal of the title character. I would strongly encourage anyone at all intrigued by the film or the true story to make a point of giving this one a shot at some point, odds are you will be thrilled that you decided to do so, and fans of Aaron Sorkin in particular won’t even want to consider missing out on another impressive entry in his screenwriting career, not to mention his directorial debut.
Overall, ‘Molly’s Game’ it’s a smartly crafted true tale that largely due to the unique and enthralling writing of Aaron Sorkin (who also makes his directorial debut with the film) and the brilliant performances by Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba forms into something truly wonderful. A phenomenal and surprisingly moving journey through one powerful woman’s remarkable and profitable self-made career, as well as the consequences she subsequently faced from certain decisions along the way. ‘Molly’s Game’ is highly recommended and delivers a wildly entertaining and powerful true story that should have little trouble keeping you glued to the screen for its entirety. Any fans of Aaron Sorkin, Jessica Chastain and/or Idris Elba, along with anyone who tends to appreciate an overall impressive true story will want to be sure they check this one out sometime in the foreseeable future.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Molly’s Game’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding and provides a sharp, detailed and precisely colored presentation from start to finish with no noticeable faults to be uncovered throughout. It holds up impressively even during the various darkly lit and heavily populated sequences, never allowing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation from Universal that’s complimented by a more than adequate bitrate and should easily please the fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack delivers a clean, crisp and fairly active audio presentation throughout. It often takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send casual background elements, crowd chatter, music and more throughout the various speakers when appropriate, and always making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously remain clean and fully audible. Overall, this is a highly capable 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds consistently great and delivers across the board.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Molly’s Game’ includes a single extra, a brief Behind the Scenes Featurette ‘Creating An Empire’ (running approximately 3 minutes in length) which includes interviews/comments with Writer/Director Aaron Sorkin, star Jessica Chastain and the real life Molly Bloom.
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