Clearly something went horribly wrong as this thriller was being made, because despite a solid cast, gorgeous locations and an intriguing premise, the film is an incoherent mess. Sure, it looks achingly cool, but there isn't a single moment when the characters' motivations make any sense. And there's never a hint of suspense or danger.
It doesn't help that the set-up revolves around two of the least cinematic things on earth: finances and computers. Timberlake plays Princeton grad student Richie, who runs a gambling website to pay his tuition but loses his savings when another site cheats him. So he heads to Costa Rica to confront the online casino boss Ivan (Affleck). Impressed with his initiative, Ivan offers him a job, and soon Richie has more cash than he can possibly spend. But for some reason, all he wants is Ivan's colleague-girlfriend Rebecca (Arterton). Then a nosey FBI agent (Mackie) forces Richie to help him take Ivan down.
Director Fuhrman showed considerable promise with another renegade loner in The Lincoln Lawyer, but this film simply refuses to fill in enough of the gaps. Nothing that happens here is remotely convincing, as the characters are continually thrust into half-developed scenarios. Perhaps there's a more coherent longer version out there, because this one feels like it was edited with a machete. Even as a cautionary tale about the dangers of greed, this story has nothing relevant to say.
That said, the film is enjoyable for its depiction of this glamorous life of luxury yachts, flashy houses, fast cars, private jets and armies of bikini-clad Latina babes. Not that any of these men notice. There's absolutely no sexual chemistry between Arterton and either Timberlake or Affleck, and of the three only Affleck manages to generate some fiery presence as the cocky zillionaire who inexplicably dabbles in much more dangerous criminal activities than making a fortune in online gambling. And the fact that Ivan has an absurdly silly collection of pet killer crocodiles is the most interesting thing about him.
Run time: 91 mins
In Theaters: Friday 4th October 2013
Box Office USA: $19.3M
Box Office Worldwide: $62.6M
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Production compaines: Stone Village Pictures, Appian Way, Double Feature Films, New Regency Pictures
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 8%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 103
IMDB: 5.6 / 10
Director: Brad Furman
Starring: Ben Affleck as Ivan Block, Gemma Arterton as Rebecca Shafran, Justin Timberlake as Richie Furst, Anthony Mackie as Shavers, David Costabile as Professor Hornstein, John Heard as Harry Furst, Michael Esper as Billy 'Pet' Petricoff, Oliver Cooper as Andrew Cronin, Christian George as Wilson, Yul Vazquez as Delegate Herrera, James Molina as Esteban, Louis Lombardi as Archie, Vincent Laresca as Sergeant Barrancas, Sam Palladio as Shecky
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