Molly’s Game (2017)
Helming the director’s chair for the first time to translate his polished script on the film canvas, Aaron Sorkin commences his feature filmmaking journey on a rather impressive note, for Molly’s Game looks incredibly smooth, shiny & sophisticated, happens to be engaging from the get-go, and is further bolstered by another stellar showcase from the ever-amazing Jessica Chastain.
Molly’s Game tells the story of Molly Bloom, a young skier & former Olympic hopeful who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game that involved Hollywood celebrities, sports figures, business titans & other wealthy individuals for nearly a decade before she was apprehended by the FBI. Indicted for involvement in illegal gambling, she enlists the help of a high-profile lawyer to defend herself.
Written & directed by Aaron Sorkin, Molly’s Game is a character-driven & dialogue-heavy biopic from the revered screenwriter that expertly utilises all his trademarks, be it the quick-fire exchange of dialogues, extended monologues or cocky/troubled protagonists. Sorkin’s direction is excellent, for the new filmmaker in town does well to keep the narrative focused & interest alive although it slips a little near the end.
The sumptuous set pieces exquisitely recreate the underground poker setting down to minuscule details while the dynamic camerawork & vibrant colour grading make sure that the images retain their rich texture & glossy shine at all times. Editing is finely carried out for the most part yet there are few moments in the final print that the story could have done without. Costumes bring a little luxurious touch of its own into every scene. And Daniel Pemberton’s score nicely complements the unfolding events.
Coming to the acting department, Molly’s Game is Jessica Chastain’s show all the way as she commands the screen with her magnetic screen presence from start to finish, and delivers an effortlessly alluring & downright captivating performance that adds more intriguing quality to an already fascinating character. Idris Elba plays Charley Jaffey, the criminal defence lawyer Molly enlists after being targeted by the FBI, and does well in the given role. The remaining cast contribute with fine inputs but none of them come close to Chastain’s powerful rendition.
On an overall scale, Molly’s Game marks a promising start to Aaron Sorkin’s directorial endeavours, and is another impressive addition to Jessica Chastain’s acting oeuvre. The way Sorkin illustrates Molly’s meteoric rise in the poker business is compelling throughout. Even the scenes between Chastain & Elba brim with an electric feel. But the father-daughter subplot the story kept going back to felt kinda unnecessary, plus it also affected the overall flow on few occasions. Nevertheless, the positives outweigh the negatives by a sufficient margin, while Sorkin’s rapid-fire script & Chastain’s smashing work make sure that the ride is entertaining & satisfying. And for the most part, it is.