Sunday, 26 April 2009

21 **** (For The Crawley Observer)

Robert Luketic, who is better known for his directing skills in chick-flicks such as Legally Blonde or Win A Date With Tad Hamilton, has created a film this is arguably one of the most original and exciting films produced in a long time.

Along with the young new talent that is Jim Sturgess, who plays Ben Campbell, the MIT student aiming to achieve a scholarship to Harvard Med School, the storyline is immersed with intellectual and moral dilemmas as well as moments of hilarity and high action.

The mix of Luketic's out of the ordinary cinematic filming, the talent of Sturgess and the compelling storyline makes 21 a film very hard to dislike. The film deals with a group of highly intellectual students who try and beat the system when it comes to playing poker in Las Vegas. The line up includes Kate Bosworth who as well as playing the obligatory romantic lead fares well as the intelligent, sexy member of the team.
The film also has its fair share of gangster like characters; one of whom is played by Laurence Fishburne who really does send shivers down your spine, alongside typical student and motherly-type figures that hold the morality of the storyline. Kevin Spacey also puts in a typically spectacular performance by playing a mentor to these students and lends an edge to the film.

Peter Steinfield and Allan Loeb, who wrote 21, have addressed the usual problems that young adults face; juggling a job, a girlfriend, an education whilst staying committed to family life. But don't think of this as a normal teenage movie because this is so much more sophisticated. Think of it as a mix between Snatch, Ocean's Eleven and Cruel Intentions and you may be half way there in terms of understanding the inventiveness of this story. There is also no let up, no moment during your cinema experience to feel relaxed and at ease with this storyline.

As well as challenging your intellectual ability you are also faced with emotional dilemmas from Ben Campbell's life all caught up in the action of Las Vegas. And just when you thought a change in the narrative couldn't exist, it somehow does.
With clever cinematic ideas peppered throughout the film which adds to the appeal along with the many combinations of twists and turns throughout the storyline - some of which may actually make you gasp, you are left with a movie that isn't just great... But absolutely fantastic!

If you want a film that's not only funny and exciting but so beyond your expectations of a storyline that it really does leave you feeling bowled over, go and see it.

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