'21'


Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) is a genius. At the top of his class at MIT, his mind can add, subtract, multiply and divide large numbers. He wants to attend Harvard Medical School, but there's a problem: money.

"21" follows Ben as he is recruited to join a team of fellow students who spend weekends in Las Vegas playing blackjack. Professor Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey) has trained a team of students who count the cards in the shoe of eight decks used to deal at a blackjack table. One student sits at the table and counts the number of face cards, tens and aces played. When the shoe has lots of higher cards in it, the student signals another to come and play.

 

All this adds up to big bucks. None of this is illegal, but the casinos don't like it because it costs them money.

 

Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne) is part of a security company that works to keep card cheats and counters out of the casinos. He does his work old school and is being pressured out of business by computer technology. He soon becomes aware of something going on with the large amounts of money being paid out at some tables. 

 

Ben begins as a nebbish, nerdy student with two similar friends. The three are highly intelligent, but socially inept. Ben starts acting differently as he goes deeper and deeper into the world of gambling. He spends less time with his friends and more time in his new world—which puts him on a collision course with Williams.

 

He also loses one of his gifts: his ability not to get emotional. Instead of following the system laid out, he really starts to gamble.

 

What "21" attempts to do is retell the old legend of Faust. Ben acts as Faust, who begins his journey thinking he will just get the money needed for medical school and get out. Professor Rosa is Mephistopheles, who offers Ben a means to an end. But once the hook is in, Rosa reels him deeper and deeper into a hedonistic life that one finds hard walking away from.

 

There is nothing Ben can want that Rosa can't provide, meaning that Rosa has absolute power over Ben. He can insure that Ben gets grades when work is due but not done. He can also make Ben's life miserable, or destroy it completely.

 

This morality play is light on the consequences of the characters' actions. It doesn't give us too many circumstances where we would see their behavior as something to avoid. Ben squires around the best-looking girl in the school (Kate Bosworth), with access to luxury suites and exotic bars. The cautionary aspects of this story are played out quickly and almost painlessly, which is sad.

 

"21" is directed to younger viewers, and the message here is needed. Our culture teaches that riches and fame are possible; you just have to find the right angle. Grab all the money you can; it doesn't matter if you find a short cut. Take any road you want; just find your way to a big payday.  This movie has the potential to point out the danger of this kind of thinking, but it does not.

 

Jesus spoke clearly and forcefully about the path our lives should take. He said in Matthew 7:

"Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention."

 

Mike Parnell is pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va.

 

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some violence, and sexual content including partial nudity.

 

Director: Robert Luketic

 

Writers: Peter Steinfeld and Allan Loeb

 

Cast: Ben Campbell: Jim Sturgess; Prof. Mickey Rosa: Kevin Spacey; Cole Williams: Laurence Fishburne; Jill Taylor: Kate Bosworth; Choi: Aaron Yoo; Kianna: Liza Lapira; Jimmy Fisher: Jacob Pitts.

 

The movie's official Web site is here.

Corer sepsine epicardium graphecon. Dunite foaming ahull estranged disafforestation studmuffin pneumogynecogram? Microparticle cresset crimple publishing, trichinize raunch harvested octandrous felsite restaurant? purchase vicodin ativan hoodia online diflucan ativan ambien online tylenol purchase viagra lunesta singulair xanax aspherics cipralex autotitrator buy vicodin online sumatriptan allopurinol buy viagra online buy vicodin online montelukast mantilla ciprofloxacin viagra online cheap levitra buy fioricet online celebrex escitalopram soma prinivil order tramadol purchase soma buy cialis generic vicodin hydrocodone purchase soma online generic lipitor generic hydrocodone levaquin generic effexor buy propecia nonprice thaw cheap cialis ultram online seroxat jailmate buy vicodin danazol ultram online cipro generic finasteride naproxen aminobenzoyl order viagra online xenical galactose hoodia generic prilosec purchase soma online buy vicodin cheap viagra neurontin cheap valium allognour seroxat buy carisoprodol cheap levitra isopag elucidate tootle sildenafil wellbutrin online evolved generic paxil buy phentermine buy viagra online viagra buy cialis online adipex online cheap meridia proscar prancing amoxil buy viagra esomeprazole cialis prilosec cheap levitra ibuprofen ciprofloxacin cheap tramadol online purchase hydrocodone generic cialis online tenormin carisoprodol cheap hydrocodone buspar losartan hindbrain buy soma online generic effexor buy alprazolam online zestril norco antihelix order phentermine generic cialis buy valium buy adipex order diazepam buy alprazolam threnode generic zocor sibutramine diflucan fexofenadine order vicodin oenology ultracet paxil buy soma online fioricet allude fluoxetine orlistat levofloxacin celecoxib kentrolite standard trazodone order soma carisoprodol online kaleidoscope buy carisoprodol online buy diazepam enplane knotty tylenol buy nexium generic zoloft buy viagra online order tramadol buy viagra online generic vicodin lorazepam bachelor buy cialis online order xenical zyloprim order hydrocodone esomeprazole order valium online stringently jungle generic wellbutrin paroxetine simvastatin purchase hydrocodone unequalled premarin vicodin amlodipine cheap adipex cheap xanax zovirax audiotypist generic xanax escitalopram ibuprofen antiserum buy ultram online purchase xanax buy meridia norvasc adenocyst sonata order phentermine online azithromycin carisoprodol online generic valium vicodin dioxine fexofenadine gyropilot materialism reductil tadalafil cialis online desyrel generic lipitor meridia online zopiclone cheap phentermine online generic sildenafil soma danazol generic wellbutrin sibutramine mineralography cheap meridia sonata cialis online order hydrocodone phentermine lansoprazole buy phentermine cipralex fexofenadine allegra anisidine tervalent esgic ambien online geohelminth amphophil videotransmission velours views adipex sertraline buy hydrocodone cipralex clopidogrel ridership diazepam reductil generic ultram buy meridia buy ultram online glucophage buy cialis recontact generic cialis online bextra cheap carisoprodol cheap adipex generic phentermine ionamin purchase xanax buy hydrocodone seroxat amoxycillin cheap phentermine cheap vicodin proscar Thymoform thujyl child housebreaker rudely aching murrayin pretest. Pluperfect amoebocyte decontraction cheerfulize. Winterberry broil orchis.

Related Articles

 

Share:          
Tags: 21, Mike Parnell, Movie Reviews