What we thought:
Gerry is a talented but down-on-his-luck gambler whose fortunes begins to change when he meets Curtis, a younger, highly charismatic poker player. The two strike up an immediate friendship, and Gerry quickly persuades his new friend to accompany him on a road trip to a legendary high stakes poker game in New Orleans. As they make their way down the Mississippi River, Gerry and Curtis manage to find themselves in just about every bar, racetrack, casino, and pool hall they can find, experiencing both incredible highs and dispiriting lows, but ultimately forging a deep and genuine bond that will stay with them long after their adventure is over.
What we thought:
Mississippi Grind is a gritty, gambler road trip movie that takes you deep into the world of gambling culture.
Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is controlled by his gambling addiction. He has hit rock bottom and owes money to almost everyone.
At a poker game he meets the charismatic, carefree Curtis (Ryan Reynolds). The pair hit it off and Gerry has some big wins and then dubs Curtis his lucky charm.
Out of sheer desperation to dig himself out of his debt he convinces Curtis to go with him on a gambling bender to Mississippi. The pair makes detours along the way at obscure gambling joints and casinos.
As they make their way to Mississippi they start getting to know each other better. Gerry has lost his wife and his daughter because of his gambling. Curtis on the other hand struggles with commitment, ‘he likes woman too much’ and he’s a drifter.
And he has a complicated relationship with a prostitute, Simone (Sienna Miller) from St Louis.
While both of them are addicts it is Gerry that is the worst off of the two. He just doesn’t know when to stop; he is completely controlled by his addiction.
Curtis on the other hand is controlled by the thrill of it all, he knows when to stop but he has a destructive streak. The pair have a messed up co-dependent relationship.
I have to admit it took me a while to fully get into the movie, the plot drags in the beginning. But somewhere in the middle I became invested in seeing just how things will turn out for the unlikely pair.
Ben Mendolsohn and Ryan Reynolds have great chemistry. Physically they are total opposites Ben has the ‘typical’ down and out gambler thing going while Ryan has the cool, popped collar thing going. This was a different type of role for Ryan and he adds real depth to his character. Ben also churns out a noteworthy performance.
Look this movie isn’t for everyone at the core it’s a look into the culture of gambling and addiction that many of us are oblivious to. Even if it’s just out of curiosity it’s worth the watch.