21 is a heist drama movie inspired by the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team.
Movie Title: 21
Directed By: Robert Luketic
Based on: Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Kate Bossworth, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Spacey, Kieu Chinh.
Running Time: 123 minutes.
A brief plot of Movie 21
Even though Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) , MIT(Massachuetts Institute of Technology) senior math major is accepted into Harvard Medical School, he is unable to afford the $300,000 fee. Hence he battles for the Robinson Scholarship which would pay through the entire expense. However, he faces a fierce competition despite his excellence.
While on the class, MIT professor Micky Rosa(Kevin Spacey) provides Ben with a Monty Hall problem to solve. Ben solves the problem successfully and with pure perfection. When Micky sees Ben’s graded paper, he is amazed even more. Micky invites Ben to join his blackjack team which consists of 5 members,his fellow students, Choi, Kianna, Fisher and Jill along with Micky himself. Having been promoted at his job, Ben refuses to play along. Jill visits Ben’s workplace the next day and convinces him to join the team. After quite a lot of thinking, Ben decides to join the team as it might be a better chance for him to pay for medical school. He tells Micky that he’s only doing this in order to pay for Harvard Medical School fee, and once he has collected enough, he will leave the team. Ben is made aware of the card counting system, and learns to stay under the radar at all times. Also use of hints and signals to make aware another player is taught to him by his team mates.
Micky takes the team to Vegas. The way he handled his end of the team impresses Micky and makes Fisher jealous. Slowly, he creates and impression on Jill and they start attracting to each other. When jealous Fisher gets drunk and creates a scene at the table where Ben is making his move,Micky decides to let go of Fisher. On the other side, security officer Cole Williams(Laurence Fishburne) monitors the tables and keeps an eye on Ben.
Being carried away by blackjack, Ben doesn’t complete his part of a science project he was involved in with his best friends. His friends, due to lack of focus by Ben in the project, decide to move on to the project without Ben. Emotionally stressed Ben loses focus on the blackjack table and causes Micky to lose $200,000 of his money for which Micky throws his anger at Ben. Micky leaves the team alone to find their own way back to Boston(MIT). Even more frustrated and now angry Ben convinces team to go out and count cards without Micky. Micky finds out and secretly tells this to casino security. Williams catches Ben, beats him hard and leaves him with a warning.
Ben returns back only to find all his savings was stolen and he has gotten an incomplete in one of his classes. Ben suspects Micky but has no evidence. He meets up with Jill and later makes up with Micky with a deal, convincing him to be another big player for the team, for one last time. Micky agrees and they all once again return back to the casino winning $640,000. They find out that they’re being followed by the casino security and hence start running. Micky split with Jill and Ben taking the chips. Micky gets into the car, and tells the driver to get him to the airport. Micky checks and finds out the chips he took were actually chocolate coins.
It is revealed that Ben has made a deal with Williams that he and the boys can take all their winnings in exchange for Micky Rosa. This is so because Micky had won a 7 figure sum at Williams’ casino for which Williams lost his job. After capturing Rosa, Williams confronts Ben and takes all their winnings at gunpoint for his retirement. Ben gives up his winning and rejoins his team and friends who have been counting all night on their own.
The film ends with the “dazzled” look on the Harvard’s director after hearing Ben’s essay/story.
My Review and perception towards the movie
The movie is one of the finest adaptation of a/the real story. The presentation seems very solid. The addition of a little drama onto the story makes the movie a bit more fun to watch. The way how a casino operates is really realistically shown. Also, how it is possible to hack the game is beautifully presented.
The intro to the movie, with the background track “Pretend” by MGMT fits well with the movie.
The movie basically shows how anyone could grab the opportunity in need, whether the opportunity is morally bad or good. Also it can be seen that when things grab hold of a person, it might get hard to get out of the addiction. The way Kevin Spacey manipulated Sturgess also provides truth to the fact that people may use other people’s brilliance for their own selfish reasons.
Even though the cast faced a lot of racial-controversies as the cast didn’t nearly match the Asian-American team from the real story, the movie was a fine presentation. Jeff Ma, the person upon whom the story is based, told in an interview that he thought the controversy was “overblown” and he was glad that someone talented portrayed his character in the movie rather than and Asian actor just to fill his character.
In conclusion, the movie is not at all boring even though it is a book adaptation from a real story. It is fun, and also provides people with the idea of existence of the events displayed in the movie.
P.S. I would like to make the audience aware that there is also a Bollywood remake of the movie which is titled “Teen Patti”.
My Rating and Recommendation:
Even half writing the review I started feeling that I should watch the movie once again. So it clearly is as better as you expect it to be from this review.
My rating for the movie would be 3.5 out of 5 stars.