October 4, 2013

It’s ironic that ‘Runner Runner’ takes no risks

A story like that at the heart of “Runner Runner,” about a young American gambler who gets sucked way above his head into the criminal doings of a big-time offshore operator, would have found its ideal life as a tough, punchy, black-and-white programmer back in the 1950s. Today, it would have been most viable as a grandiose character study done on an operatic scale by a filmmaker like Martin Scorsese or Michael Mann. What’s actually up onscreen in this vaguely ambitious but tawdry melodrama falls into an in-between no man’s land that endows it with no distinction whatsoever, a work lacking style and insight into the netherworld it seeks to reveal. Despite an intriguing setup and Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake heading the cast, this Fox release holds a losing box-office hand.

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