Movie Review – 21 – Geek Dreams

21 The Movie

The true story of the very brightest young minds in the country – and how they took Vegas for millions. Ben Campbell is a shy, brilliant M.I.T. student who — needing to pay school tuition — finds the answers in the cards. He is recruited to join a group of the school’s most gifted students that heads to Vegas every weekend armed with fake identities and the know-how to turn the odds at blackjack.

This is a movie I was interested in since I saw the trailer, the dream of all geeks that they’ll learn to beat the system and live the life in Vegas.

And the most awesome thing? This is all a true story based on the book by Ben Mezrich called “Bringing Down the House”.

The real subject of the story Jeff Ma also plays a small part (The Chinese dealer who the main characters calls “My brother from another mother”).

The lead is played by Jim Sturgess (Who you may recongise if you’ve watched the Beatles musical movie Across the Universe). He fits the role perfectly as he can play the nerd and the badboy pretty well, someone like Ashton Kutcher just couldn’t play this role

Jim Sturgess as Ben Campbell

Everyone fit in just right, they were convincing as MIT geeks and as high rollers leading a double life. The plot was fairly coherent, the effects were good, the filming was good (getting the right atmosphere in a low light casino is not easy). There was some funny parts, good tension and generally a nice pace.

I don’t think anyone can argue the fact that Kevin Spacey is an awesome actor too, especially anyone that has seen The Usual Suspects. Some people may find him a little intense but I thought he played the role very well.

Kevin Spacey as Micky Rosa

All in all definitely a movie worth watching, don’t expect a masterpiece of movie making – do expect to enjoy the movie.

For all the aspiring high-rollers, I’d give this movie a solid 7/10.




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12 Responses to Movie Review – 21 – Geek Dreams

  1. Nicholas Leong September 15, 2008 at 4:01 pm #

    Yet to watch the movie. Was on the list of my must-watch movie but somehow it just disappeared off my radar screen.

    Time to pick up the DVD I guess.

  2. moons September 15, 2008 at 6:07 pm #

    Ah it was one of the movies I was waiting for back when I first heard of the upcoming release. Watched it some time back and it was entertaining, but not all that I expected it to be.

    Then again, who really wants to go into the technicalities which they only explained briefly on the surface? Very few people I guess.

  3. Dabido September 15, 2008 at 7:20 pm #

    I’ve been interested in this movie too. I saw a documentary on this before they made the movie, so was very interested in it all … and like you say, it’s a geeks dream to beat the system! 🙂

  4. Sherkan September 15, 2008 at 9:08 pm #

    After reading this, i really want to see the movie. I think kevin Spacey is one of the best actors in Hollywood (and not just for usual Suspects) 🙂

  5. Huai Bin September 15, 2008 at 10:55 pm #

    I wanted to watch this movie as well but I was busy during the week it was screening. I’ll have to catch it on DVD. I love the theme, high rolling, beating the house odds.

    I also love Kevin Spacey, also from watching The Usual Suspects. He’s a very versatile actor.

  6. ben September 16, 2008 at 10:55 am #

    I bought the DVD 2 weeks back cos was intrigued to learn how MIT geeks could beat the house.

    Ya, interesting watch. Is anyone doing this in Genting? Heh…

  7. Kenneth September 16, 2008 at 11:48 am #

    I read the book about “counting” quite a few years back. And it DOES work. However, casinos nowadays uses more than 4 decks. And with the random shuffling machine, it has become almost infinity. Hence unable to “count” anymore

  8. Dabido September 16, 2008 at 12:16 pm #

    Kenneth – Learn to count past ten! 🙂

  9. Kenneth September 16, 2008 at 1:33 pm #

    Dabido – hmm… what comes after ten again?

  10. Dabido September 17, 2008 at 12:23 pm #

    Kenneth – Wait, I’ll just take my shoes off. I can get to two tens that way! 🙂

  11. ShaolinTiger September 19, 2008 at 10:09 pm #

    Nicholas Leong: Heh, yeah it’s pretty easy to find.

    moons: Actually if you watched the DVD they explain how the system works in the special features.

    Dabido: Yah it’s surprisingly well done, watching blackjack is not the most interesting thing in the world normally.

    Sherkan: Go watch! Yes he is consistently good, that’s just his most memorable performance for me.

    Huai Bin: Go grab it, worth a watch. He is good, extremely intense too.

    ben: Haha I don’t think so, they use more decks now.

    Kenneth: Yah it’s not easy, it’s still possible though – but they will catch you and you will get banned.

  12. moons September 20, 2008 at 3:11 pm #

    Ah I see. Didn’t know that as I didn’t get the DVD.

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