Runner Runner is elevated by solid performances but, for a story about gambling and striving for greatness, the film ironically takes very few risks. This moive was directed by Brad Thurman, best known for his 2010 critical and commercial hit The Lincoln Lawyer, from a script by Ocean’s Thirteen writing pair, Brian Koppelman and David Levien. Regrettably, despite solid talent behind the camera and a competent cast, Runner Runner is a flat and generic drama thriller from start to finish.
The film fails to do anything interesting with the gambling subject. In the end the film is nothing more than a familar story about corrupt official and opportunists business people. In gerneral, it's not a bad film, as there are many redeeming qualities that will make it interesting for certain moivegoers, but Runner, Runner falls short of delivering anything fresh and unique.
Despite the disappointment in the storyline, the cast managed to keep things engaging. Timberlake delivers in almost every scene of the film, standing toe-to-toe with the veteran actor Ben Affleck in a wide range of interaction. Those scene where Furst is on top of the world, terrified out of his mind and desperately hiding his fear was delivered very well. Ben Affleck as usual gave a solid performance in this film as a callous and conniving white collar criminal. It is interesting to see how Block transit from a friendly and inviting mentor to a twisted and cruel enermy.
Sadly, Gemma Arterton and Anthony Mackie’s Rebecca Shafran and Agent Shavers, respectively, are also missed opportunities – relegated to exposition machines with little individual explorations. In conclusion, Runner, Runner is a fast-paced thriller that simply refuses to establish any sense of tension or danger, and the characters are paper thin.