* * * *
(Based on actual poker game entrepreneur)
Jessica Chastain gives a strong performance as Molly Bloom, the former competitive skier who becomes the leading organizer of high stakes poker games. Molly is indicted for collusion with the Russians, a fact she vehemently denies in her tell-all book and FBI investigations.
The two-hour and 20-minute movie jumps around a bit, from her growing up with an over-bearing father (Kevin Costner) to her early days as a secretary to a game organizer, to her plunge into running her own games, to her relationship with her lawyer (Idris Elba) to her trial.
The movie is based on the real Molly Bloom's memoirs and goes into many details on how the actual poker games were set up and operated. This is much more than a movie about high stakes gambling, as the story zooms in on this highly motivated, strong woman, who in spite of her profession tries to operate within the law and sticks to a strict moral code.
What is her motivation? What has made her so determined?
Flashbacks of her early life with her controlling psychologist father has the greatest influence.
While this is certainly Chastain's movie, we were impressed with Elba's performance as the reluctant lawyer who eventually becomes impassioned with saving his client.
Rated R some profanity and violence.