21 the Movie Review


Released Date: March 28th, 2008 - Granted that this appears to be your typical gambling movie, it is so much more. 21 is a seductive thrill heist and it should come as no surprise that 21 is a film which combines the two aforementioned premises should excel at being enjoyable. The film may be very familiar ground to anyone within any experience with Brining Down the House and The Last Casino and the majority of the film's plot points verge on being almost predictable, it is well executed to make this movie an instant classic.

The movie has a slow start, but it is necessary to build the story and the character of a nerdy and ethical young MIT student Ben Campbell's (Jim Sturgess) desperate need for money to attend Harvard medical school leads him to join a secret team of mathematical geniuses trained in a secret blackjack card counting. The MIT blackjack team fly back and forth from Boston to Las Vegas on weekends and engulf themselves by the seductive glamour of Vegas and the thrill of the huge monetary stakes.

The film's quality cast adds credibility to the frequently underwritten characters they portray. One might also notice the "Hollywood Affirmative Action" of the MIT team, with team members of different ethnicity backgrounds in the movie to expand racial demographics. This is often a comical common practice in modern day cinema, but in a way is necessary to attract all markets.

Ben Campbell impresses as the ethical math prodigy slowly corrupted by a world of superficial glamour, his endearing charm putting an intriguing take on the "troubled hero". As one might expect, Kevin Spacey (Micky Rosa) effortlessly dominated the screen as the charismatic, but ruthless professor managing the MIT card counting team. Spacey's easygoing yet commanding presence is a profound boost to the film and has you liking him and then quickly disliking him on screen. Kate Bosworth (Jill Taylor) contributes little to the overall cast, but given her token 'love interest' role, she fails to detract much from the film's overall quality. Lawrence Fishburne (Cole Williams) adds a villain type character to the films cast as the casino security enforcer, gradually catching on to the MIT team's card counting ring.

While the age old fundamental ‘style over substance' certainly holds true here, 21 essentially symbolizes the modern Hollywood gambling film. The film's snappy visuals and strong casting formula is enough to make for a very enjoyable film. The cinematography and editing of the movie was done quite well. It had the feeling of watching a music video, while capturing the essence of the Las Vegas experience and as the film moves forward, it becomes more enjoyable. Fans of similar works will not be disappointed, and consider this to be an ideal watch and possibly a movie to own when released on DVD.

21 movie Trailer:


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Comments 2 comments

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donnaleemason 8 years ago from North Dakota, USA

Great review Jaramillo. It sounds like one to watch.


Jaramillo profile image

Jaramillo 8 years ago from Los Angeles, CA Author

It had a good story, I grew to love the characters, it was emotionally gripping, it had just enough violence where it kept you on your toes, but yet it wasn't too graphic, and it had a happy ending that most viewers prefer. The movie had the perfect formula to make it an absolute enjoyable film.

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