Film review | Runner Runner – Ben & Justin’s gambling thriller looks like a sucker’s bet

RUNNER RUNNER - Justin Timberlake & Gemma Arterton

Should you take a punt on gambling thriller Runner Runner? The high-stakes plot, glossy locations and even glossier cast certainly look tempting, but stump up the cash and you’ll probably come away feeling cheated.

Someone who ought to know better is Justin Timberlake’s Princeton grad student Richie, the film’s hero, who chances his arm by going down to Costa Rica and becoming the protégé of Ben Affleck’s suspiciously sleek Ivan Block, the king of online gambling. Before long, he’s enjoying a dalliance with Block’s glamorous right-hand woman, Gemma Arterton’s Rebecca, but when your boss is the kind of man who keeps pet crocodiles you just know things will turn out badly.

A gambler, a shady boss and a redheaded femme fatale? The ingredients, surely, for a smouldering thriller (just look at Gilda)? Sadly, there’s no mystery or allure in Runner Runner, just a predictable plot, hackneyed dialogue and zero chemistry between its stars.

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Certificate 15. Runtime 92 mins. Director Brad Furman.

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