Two powerhouse performances are at the center of this film, delivered by Ben Mendelsohn as Gerry, a depressed gambler, and Ryan Reynolds as Curtis, his artificially upbeat counterpart. The two meet at a low stakes poker game, share some bourbon, and wind up on a road trip to New Orleans with the intent of getting in on a huge money game. Things don’t quite work out that way, with Gerry recklessly gambling the money Curtis stakes him, and Curtis womanizing and stealing bicycles. Still, the two men remain drawn together, and it all leads up to some big events. Reynolds is having a banner year in smaller projects, proving he has more than blockbuster good looks. The man is talented, and this is his best performance to date, a fully realized character backed by the kind of script and direction his talent deserves. Matching Reynolds note for note is the always amazing Mendelsohn in the film’s main role. His Gerry is everything you would expect from a person with gambling addiction. He’s desperate, he’s unruly, but he’s also a genuinely good human being trying to make things right. Gerry is somebody that is easy to feel sorry for rather than somebody to be written off as a selfish bum. Mendelsohn gives him a beating heart, and makes him somebody worth rooting for. Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, responsible for the very good Sugar and Half Nelson, wrote and directed. They are, without a doubt, one of the more underrated and under-appreciated writer/director teams going. (Available for rent on iTunes and On Demand during a limited theatrical release.)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *