Wednesday, April 16, 2008


This Robert Luketic film may not be faithful to the real life story depicted in the best-selling book Bringing Down The House by Ben Mezrich, but definitively is entertaining with some mathematical substance that at least makes you think that there are many more reasons to really pay attention when you’re at school learning about very simple and basic mathematics.

Tells about Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) joining a MIT Blackjack team under the training of MIT professor Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey), going to Las Vegas during weekends and winning lots of money until their faces become recognizable as card counters and Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne) gets them.

Some of the real life students have cameos at different moments in the movie, which became controversial when changed the most Asian-American team into a more conventional white predominated team. Reading about the real life story became as interesting as the movie and I was quite surprised to learn that the first team was formed in 1969, that there are other real life stories -like the Pelayo family in Spain- that have done similar things and with many different card counting techniques there has been groups of people that have beat 21 in casinos allover the world.

Those familiar with the real life story and those that have read the book tend to not like the movie, but most acknowledge that even if is different it is a good movie. Most interesting was reading an interview with a Pelayo family member who commented about how similar the movie depicts their family experience.

The movie as a movie is an average pic with good story, good performances and good production values. Definitively is not a masterpiece, but it is attention grabber even when at some point the end becomes too predictable. Still, I have to admit that it is much more interesting than the Oceans movies.

For those that have read my post on TV On regarding the Deal or No Deal TV show, I suggest to watch this movie and pay attention to the class when professor Rosa discovers and “plays” Ben. What you will be able to hear absolutely applies to that game show.

I believe that if you have interest in basic mathematics and probabilities you will enjoy this entertaining movie and if you don’t, still will be able to enjoy it as a good escapist movie.


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