Movie Review: Mississippi Grind

Mississippi Grind (2015) directed by Ryan Fleck, Anna Boden • Reviews, film  + cast • Letterboxd

credit: Mississippi Grind

Some actors tend to surprise us by showing in movies that we don’t expect to see them in at times, but one has to remember that actors are just as different as average people when it comes to what they offer their fans. Mississippi Grind isn’t a flashy, exciting, or even touching movie since it’s about a man named Gerry who has a serious gambling problem and a younger gambler named Curtis who somehow acts as Gerry’s good luck charm, at least for a short time. When the two meet at a poker game, they hit it off after a short while and enjoy a night of hard drinking with each other before they try to play a pool game for $1,000. Unfortunately, this act gets them kicked out of the bar, and once they part ways, Gerry is stabbed in an attempted mugging. When it’s revealed that Gerry is a real estate agent, it’s fair to say that things only appear even bleaker since the guy is, for lack of a better word, hopeless. 

Mississippi Grind Is a Gambling Movie That Comes Out Ahead

credit: Mississippi Grind

This kind of shows that Ryan Reynolds has an extensive range. 

Ben Mendelsohn has already established himself as a dramatic actor and has made it known that he can act in science fiction and fantasy as well, and Reynolds has already been known to excel in many different movies as well. But this movie shows that both men can dial it down to the bare minimum and be just as believable in their roles. The fact is that Gerry comes off as a rather pathetic human being that has allowed his addiction to take control of him in ways that are all too real and are experienced by many people all over the world. Gambling addiction is very real, no matter what anyone wants to say about it, and Ben shows this in his character in ways that feel vile and even reprehensible but also feel very accurate. On the other hand, Curtis appears to be the easy and carefree individual whose fortunes change with the wind, which is also accurate, believe it or not. 

The two men are opposites, and yet they are very much the same. 

Gerry and Curtis get along just fine, but there’s no surprise that at some point, they would come to odds with each other and would end up needing time away from each other. When Gerry starts losing money and lying to Curtis about his good fortune, it becomes a little too easy to predict that Curtis is going to feel a certain way about this. But to be fair, Curtis’ reaction is kind of odd since he convinces a group of men to beat Gerry in the men’s room. From that point, things feel kind of difficult, at least until the pair get together again at a blackjack table and start winning. From there, they head on to a craps table where they win over half a million dollars, which prompts many questions. When Gerry leaves with his half of the money, one gets the feeling that he’s about to embark on another leg of his personal journey that involves getting straight with those he needs to and finally living his life in a manner that makes sense. At least, that’s the hope, but for a compulsive gambler, it’s never certain what will happen, apart from the fact that the money will come and it will go. 

Mississippi Grind' Review: Ryan Reynolds, Ben Mendelsohn Star in Gambling  Drama - Variety

credit: Mississippi Grind

This movie feels like real life account of someone’s gambling addiction. 

As I mentioned above, there isn’t really any flash to this movie, and there’s not a lot to set it apart from real life other than the cameras and the actors. The story is something that one might see happen in real life more than once since it’s as grounded as it can be and doesn’t inspire anyone to become a gambling addict because of the possible lucky moments that come along. Essentially, glamorizing gambling is something that a lot of people would rather avoid since the truth is that gambling addiction is something that’s very hard to kick. But it does show some sense of how gambling is kind of a thrill that has a dark side to it and a very dangerous drawback. 

It’s not an exciting movie, but it’s something that might not be given a lot of attention. 

There’s a good reason that this movie might remain an unknown gem since the truth is that it’s not an instant classic and it’s far more real than some might like. It’s a good movie, there’s no doubt about that, and it shows that Reynolds and Mendelsohn are both great actors that can switch gears whenever they need to. But at the end of the day, it’s a drama about gambling and the dangers of addiction. That’s why it’s worth watching. 

The acting is definitely worthwhile as well. 

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