Summary: Richie is a poor college student trying to finance his last semester at Stanford. So far he has found success at an online poker game that he has cracked. After believing he has been swindled out of his money though, Richie decides to take a trip to Costa Rica to have a talk with the owner, Ivan. The trip goes unlike he expects though, and not only is Richie reimbursed for his loss but he is also offered a position working for Ivan, but the lifestyle that starts out glamorous ends up being a world of trouble for Richie.
Acting: Ben Affleck is the major star here as Ivan, and Affleck still proves he has the ability to carry diverse roles in movies despite the hate toward his casting announcement as Batman. The guy can go from a likable guy in The Town to one who is a bit shady in this movie. He's diverse, and he brings an intriguing dynamic to this movie. Justin Timberlake in my opinion is underrated as an actor. I enjoyed him in this movie as well as Richie. Timberlake has a likable persona and he brings that to his roles. I feel though that Timberlake isn't as diverse as Affleck though, because so far if you've seen one Timberlake role you've seen them all. Rounding out the main cast there is Gemma Arterton as Rebecca. I haven't seen Arterton in much, but I thought she was believable as Rebecca, the love interest of the two men. There is also Anthony Mackie as Agent Shavers who is trying to get Richie to work with them so they can catch Ivan ripping off people. Honestly, Mackie doesn't have a huge enough role, and his part in the movie might be the biggest shortcoming.
Filming: The movie does have this cool vibe about it that reflects the nature of the lifestyle the characters are living. It's gritty and this contrasts well with the backdrop of Costa Rica as well as they show the high life you can live there, or the more impoverished life that also dwells there. Brad Furman doesn't do anything incredibly creative here though, and the movie moves incredibly quick for what seems like would be a lot of story.
Plot: There were moments that the plot was slow, and you would think with a story that does have a lot of twists and turns for an hour and a half that you wouldn't be sitting and thinking it is slow in many of the down moments, but it is. I think this is mostly because the character development is lacking. I thought the acting was great, but the development comes quick. One moment Richie is a guy in college, and struggling to make his way, and fifteen minutes later he is in Costa Rica and living the high life. It doesn't leave you much time just to get to the know the characters as is. I felt the movie has potential going for it, and there are plenty of entertaining moments, but with a drama like this you always feel it relies more on relating to the characters.
Runner Runner was one of those movies that missed with the audiences in 2013. I think it was a very crowded year of these types of movies, and Affleck was receiving a good bit of hate around this time for his recent casting. I hope though that Timberlake gets less hate in the future as well though. I personally have liked his roles so far, and even this one.
Rating 7 of 10.