Molly’s Game was directed by Aaron Sorkin in his directorial debut. The film is crisp, real and well-made I would give it a 9/10.
Sorkin is best known for his work as a writer in films like A Few Good Men, Moneyball, The Social Network, The West Wing and The Newsroom. This film is roughly based on the life of a woman named Molly Bloom, a candidate for Olympic level skiing who lost it all to an accident during a moguls run. The introduction of the film covers the moment that started her career and leads into her running a poker ring and it accomplishes something excellent in that the information it gives you begins at a drip’s pace.
It starts off casual, even laissez-faire as it starts to rattle off some small intricacies of mogul skiing. Something like, when visibility is low assistants will sprinkle tiny pine branches over the course to give skiers a sense of depth in the blinding white of the snow. This small piece of information becomes dramatic irony and before you know it, the introduction is done and the film is barreling towards its central conflict.
Dramatic irony is something that Sorkin does in a unique fashion. Typically one would assume that any use of dramatic irony is when an audience is savvy to a piece of knowledge that character’s either need, are looking for, or would be surprised to hear. But Sorkin plays it in a way that I’ve never seen. And while I’m not ready to give him the credit for inventing it, he certainly has perfected it here. In that, Molly as our narrator of the film holds information the audience doesn’t yet know.
She teasingly teaches the audience about these pine branches, knowing they are what caused her undoing – all the while not giving it away in a fashion that feels deliberate and not at all like circumstantial or a mistake.
The performances in Molly’s Game continue to astound. Jessica Chastain is flawless in her portrayal of a woman who is willing to forsake her humanity in order to really, truly, win. Idris Elba shows a side of him that I adore being shown. He is a slightly over-protective father who refuses to stifle his daughter’s work load or allow Molly to make the wrong decision for the right reasons. He plays the legal side of things and is a great straight man to Chastain’s unequal intellect. But the surprise for me was Kevin Costner’s performance as Bloom’s father.
I won’t say too much since it is a fairly new film, however there are reasons to dislike or even detest him. However the film features a scene in which him and Chastain speak for about ten minutes on a park bench that absolutely blew me away. It was emotionally mature and completely realistic. With the realization of what Chastain’s character has been and how the information was once more dangled in front of the audience’s face I believe it was the scene that tied the entire film together. The essential conundrum that Costner’s father figure poses to his daughter is that just because someone does something you think is terrible, doesn’t mean they have to be irredeemable.
I’m summarizing too much of what was an incredibly nuanced and emotionally complex scene, but if you disagree – feel free to tweet us @TheBrockPress.