By Diego Olivares
“Runner, Runner” is one of the most boring movie-going experiences audiences will experience in quite a long time.
A college student named Richie, played by Justin Timberlake, loses his money on an online poker game website.
Feeling cheated and ripped off, he decides to travel to Costa Rica and confront the wealthy head of the website, Ivan Block, played by Ben Affleck.
Driven by the wealth and power under Block’s control, Richie is slowly pulled into this life.
That is until the F.B.I. becomes interested and Block slowly reveals his true self, putting Richie’s life in danger.
For starters, the movie’s running time is 91 minutes, yet it flet like it went on longer than that.
When a movie starts to make the viewer worried more about the time than what’s happening on screen, then something’s wrong.
Much of the bore is due to a poor, underdeveloped screenplay.
What sounds like an entertaining premise is let down by a heavy use of cliches, stock characters, and an uninteresting storyline.
At times, watching the movie, there was not a care about anything that was happening to the characters. The movie felt like it was only part of a bigger movie.
Maybe if they developed it more, it could have been better. If only the story focused on the characters rather than tired archetypes seen in previous features.
The film deals with the subject of illegal gambling, yet it doesn’t really examine it at all.
The storyline itself is a very familiar one; an ambitious young man is taken under the wing of a charismatic, yet shady guy with sinister intentions.
There are ways to take a cliché and make it feel flesh, but the movie never does that.
It doesn’t make any attempts to try or take a risk.
Another element that brings the film down is the waste of the cast with poor dialogue and very little material to work with.
Justin Timberlake brings a slick charm, but at times, it is hard to picture him as a college student.
Gemma Arterton is given little screen time, making her character a one-note love interest.
Anthony Mackie, who plays the F.B.I. agent, is able to give a fine performance, though he is stuck playing a by-the-basics character and not at fault.
Ben Affleck gives an entertaining performance, and at times made the film watchable, though the direction should have given him more to work with.
On a visual and technical level, the film is shot nice and slick. It fits the tone that the story is trying to convey.
“Runner, Runner” is a waste of a film and a cinematic blunder.
If it wasn’t filled with a clichéd storyline, stock characters, and an underdeveloped plot, the movie could have been at best an engaging thriller.
Unfortunately, the film relies on the old cliches that most Hollywood thrillers tend to stray away from.
‘Runner, Runner’ is another run-of-the-mill thrill ride that is best left to direct-to-video features on Netflix or Redbox.
‘Runner, Runner’ is rated R for language and some sexual content.