(15, 140 mins)
OSCAR-WINNING screenwriter Aaron Sorkin makes his directorial debut with a slick dramatisation of the rise and fall of Molly Bloom, who dealt herself a winning hand in 2009 as hostess of Hollywood’s most exclusive poker game with a $50,000 stake to sit at a table frequented by film stars, directors and business titans.
The first-time film-maker deals a full house of snappy dialogue to his cast, overplaying his hand on occasion so Jessica Chastain is forced to deliver screeds in voiceover as the title character.
Some one-liners zing, others are clumsily forced (“I felt I was in a hole, so deep, I could go fracking”) but his cast are committed, including one showy scene for co-star Idris Elba that makes amends for a lack of fireworks during a sluggish first hour.
Sorkin’s words speak louder than his choices behind the camera and his film is overlong.
However, like some of the people around Molly’s table, he bluffs his way towards a winning position.