Opening October 4th nationwide, the Brad Furman directed film, "Runner Runner" stars Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, and Gemma Arterton, and a talented crew of supporting cast. The filmed was screened for press and a few lucky fans October 2nd in New York City. Hosted by Yul Vasquez, who plays Delegate Herrera in the film, the turnout on the uncharacteristically warm fall night was great. Vasquez, introduced the film to the eager crowd, eliciting laughs about how "difficult" it was to film in Puerto Rico.
"Runner Runner",is visually stunning, playing on the tropical brilliance of Puerto Rico (the film takes place in Costa Rica.) Bright colors, beautiful people and an amazing soundtrack frame the story of college student, Richie Furst (Timberlake) and the dark world of gambling he is drawn to. Based on a true story, "Runner Runner" delves into a world of wealth, sex, gambling and betrayal.
Furst is a Princeton student bogged down by debt, to stay in school he turns to online gambling. Upon losing his savings, he does what anyone would do. He travels to Costa Rica, on what money who knows, to confront the man he believes swindled him. Ivan Block gambling mogul, played well by Ben Affleck, who is not usually the heavy in a film.He is convincing in this role, while verbally caressing those around him he wields a heavy hand at the same time,when he plays bad, he is very good.
At times the lucky viewers collectively gasped at the uncharacteristic things that came out of Afflecks mouth. The plot is straightforward but far from predictable. Blocks beautiful partner in crime Rebecca Shafran (Arterton) actually glistens throughout the movie. She is always impeccably dressed and glows with natural beauty. She though while good in the movie, has an inexplicable knack for showing up in random places, seemingly out of nowhere.
As the movie progresses, Block lures Furst into his life of glamour and glitz. Things that come easy often are not, as Furst quickly realizes. While the reasons are not obvious, at first at least, things quickly sour. Furst finds himself a man on the edge, on the wrong side of the law and of his wealthy and powerful boss, turned nemesis. Timberlake plays this role both as an innocent in over his head, and with the calculating mind of a gambler.
He has to turn to self-preservation, fight or flight, and he does some of both. Racing through the gritty yet beautiful back alleys and underworld of Costa Rica--played by Puerto Rico,some of the most beautiful and action packed parts of this movie are shown. Viewers can almost smell the tropical air and feel the steamy heat. it is both a decadent and dangerous world, where everyone can be bought and in some cases sold.
Vazquez sums it up, "It's true what they say, the house always wins." While Furst fights hard, channeling his desperation into action, his help comes from the most unlikely places. The question is raised, is he now the house or is he the player. Only the film can answer that question.