Mississippi Grind


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Tracy, a lonely college freshman in New York, is rescued from her solitude by her soon-to-be stepsister Brooke, an adventurous gal about town who entangles her in alluringly mad schemes. Mistress America is a comedy about dream-chasing, score-settling, makeshift families, and cat-stealing.
"As a road movie it is surprisingly static" | Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Addiction is one thing. And then it's another. Finally it's predictable. And then it's boring.

It's not booze this time. It's gambling.

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Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is such a loser he doesn't attempt to disguise it. He's on the cusp of despair and so negative he could drown in his own thoughts. Everything has gone wrong in his life and you suspect that's the way it's going to be from now on. At the age of The Midlife Crisis he doesn't even wear a Jimmy Dean jacket, or chat up teenagers. He can't be fished.

Curtis (Ryan Reynolds), on the other hand, is addicted to people. Unlike Gerry he has the world at his beck (even his call), oozing charm like a punctured beehive. The man is too cool and too damn good at the social butterfly banterage not to be a confidence trickster. Women flock; men rock.

Curtis meets Gerry at the poker table. He's a player, too, but can take it or leave it. They gang up, which doesn't mean they work as a double act to take down vulnerable punters. They hang out, which means they go to Memphis and St Louis and New Orleans to sample the night life and check out the casinos and, in Curtis's case, the chicks.

As a road movie Mississippi Grind is surprisingly static. Different towns, different states, different cars, but the same old green baize, the identical roulette wheel, the familiar dice. If there is tension, which there isn't, it's less to do with will they/won't they win a fortune and more to do with the whys and the whens.

Why make the film at all? When is Curtis going to show his true colours? You wait, and as you wait you wonder, and as you wonder you wait.

Reynolds is always watchable. He has Clooney's ease and style, like he's not trying. Mendelsohn is an actor who studies his subjects well and delivers with immaculate integrity. Trouble is Gerry has few qualities. He expects the worst and usually gets it. Not the perfect anti-hero, more the impotent fellow traveller.

Reviewed on: 14 Oct 2015
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Mississippi Grind packshot
On the road with gambling addicts who live high and lose loads.
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Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

Writer: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

Starring: Ben Mendelsohn, Ryan Reynolds, Sienna Miller, Analeigh Tipton, Alfre Woodard, Robin Weigert, Teri Wyble, Christopher Heskey, Stephanie Honoré, Jane McNeill, Patrick Kearns

Year: 2015

Runtime: 108 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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