Aaron Sorkin is responsible for some of the best television in recent years, including shows like The West Wing and The Newsroom. In movies he scripted A Few Good Men (from his play), Moneyball, and The Social Network. I wasn’t a fan of that last one, nor of Steve Jobs, because I intensely dislike both Jobs and Zuckerberg. I can see why he was drawn to them, and they both were well-done (he won the Oscar for the Facebook one), but they were just no fun.
For his directorial debut he wrote this one, also taken from real events, about Molly Bloom, a world-class mogul skier who crashed out just before the Olympics and screwed her leg up so badly that it ended her career. She sort of drifted into a pretty crazy world of hosting super high stakes poker games. They were attended by a real galaxy of Hollywood scumballs like Leonardo DeCaprio, Macauley Culkin, the Ashley Twins, and a few I sort of admire, like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. What the hell were you doing there, you Boston boys?
It all went to shit when the Feds moved on some of the scummier players from the Italian and Russian Mafias, and Molly was caught in the middle. She refuses to name names, knowing that innocent people will be caught up in the scandal. All her assets are seized by the IRS, and eventually a judge sentences her to community service and a fine, even after she turns down another deal.
It’s an interesting story, but not all that interesting. I wonder why Sorkin was attracted to it. Everyone involved does a good job, especially Jessica Chastain, who always impresses me deeply. She has twice been nominated for an Oscar (and should have won in 2012 for Zero Dark Thirty over the highly over-rated Jennifer Lawrence in the highly over-rated Silver Linings Playbook.) There is no question that there is an Oscar in her future.