Runner Runner 2013 Movie Review - Expert Gambler's View

Runner Runner is one of the best movies about gambling and online poker because it confronts the modern look of a player and the business role of the site owner. These two roles are played by Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck while Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the producers who, along with the director and the writers, know a lot about gambling and poker playing. That said, you can expect a mix of perplexing situations and well-thought storylines where money, girls, lust and ego become the ones who play the main roles. Of course, in this bestcasinosites.net blog, we will tell you more details about the gambling and the online poker and so you should answer for yourself 'Is Runner Runner a true story or not'. Let's get started!
The Runner Runner Movie is All About Who is a Better Gambler Share on Pinterest

Storylines in the Best Ben Affleck Online Gambling Movie

This really is the best Ben Affleck gambling movie in the first place. This blog post includes a complete explanation of why and how exactly it does that, which puts it apart from the other typical critics or short movie reviews. The Runner Runner movie is undoubtedly not a new movie – it was screened a little over 5 years ago, in the Fall of 2013, but its main storyline is quite intriguing even if you watch it nowadays. Runner Runner is filmed in a typical ‘countershot or reversed style which easily allows you to think from any character’s point of view. Now, if you are about to watch this movie for your first time – there is no need to worry, we will tell you only in brief what happens and what is the main storyline. In addition, you can check out this nearly 2 and a half minutes long video preview of the movie including the own words of the two main actors – Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

Shortly put, the story begins in the US where the main character Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) is forced for one reason or another to play online poker in order to get enough money to pay his tuition. However, he didn’t get lucky and lost all his savings but manages to reveal a major fraud of the site at which he played online poker. Then he (Riche Furst/Justin Timberlake) decides to pursue the owner of the site (Ivan Block/played by Ben Affleck) and to get his money back. That’s how the Runner Runner true story begins and transforms into the best Ben Affleck gambling movie ever!

We went through a lot of Runner Runner movie reviews and we stumbled upon many critiques and negative opinions about it. Some critics made a comparison of online poker and gambling with the stock exchange markets and Wall Street, thus a connection of ‘Runner Runner’ with ‘Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps’. Ivan Block was frequently compared to Gordon Gekko which is quite reasonable indeed. We could add that 2 Fast 2 Furious‘ is another iconic movie where the main highlight is on illegal gambling, beautiful girls and exotic locations. The main naïve character also becomes the big winner in the end, and there is a great differentiation between the good and the bad guys throughout the movie. Well, Runner Runner tells more about how to cheat in online poker in order to confirm whether the site first tricked you out or not. So, everyone is cheating and using illegal tricks, but the main issue is how to show that you are the best gambler in a two-man race. Is it cheating in online gambling/poker possible at all? We had the answer right next!

Cheating in Online Poker: Is Runner Runner a True Story?

The right question, in fact, is more like ‘Is it a myth or not?’ because we all know that there is nothing impossible. It’s like the companies who make new viruses for PCs and the firewall companies who keep creating and updating their anti-virus programmes to coop with the new viruses, which on the other hand… This vicious circle takes part in online gambling too because there are always players who think they could cheat the site or the system and, on the other hand, the online gambling sites take all the measures required to prevent that from happening.

Richie is Illegally Busted Out in Online Poker

Although you are not watching ‘Mythbusters’, we will try to get close to their approaches in proving whether something is a myth or not. For instance, for an online gambling site to be safe and reliable, it needs to be licensed and certified by the respective local authorities. There are several major organisations that do that – it is the UKGC for the UK, the MGA for Malta and the rest of the world, and the Government of Curacao does the licensing too. Those are only a few examples. Also, the online gambling sites have to offer reliable games with fair odds of winning which RNGs are verified by independent testing houses like eCogra or GLI or others. We have a detailed review of these testing agencies and what they do for the British gambling market, so check it out if you want to learn more. In addition, the best gambling sites that guarantee that cheating is impossible also do take care of their players via numerous responsible gambling initiatives. You can see our selection of top online poker sites and the one at which Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) played in the movie does not take part of. Well, it is a fictional site to suit the movie purposes, but anyways, it was either not licensed or a scam. The saying by Ivan Block (Ben Affleck) that its administration team left a loophole in the coding to see how the players place their bets sounded more like a manipulative excuse to provoke every player’s greatest paranoia.

Moreover, most of the storyline of the Runner Runner movie takes place in Costa Rica and that’s not by chance. The main reason is to avoid domestic regulations and laws in online gambling which are quite strict in the US. This leads to the idea that if you own gambling sites in Costa Rica – it is not a myth that Ivan Block (Ben Affleck) could easily trick the system and win a lot of money. However, it is not a legal thing for Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) to hack a website either, even with the purpose to prove that he was tricked first. The main storyline of Runner Runner is quite complicated and that’s precisely what makes it so intriguing.

Is the Ben Affleck Gambling Movie Cliché or Not?

It is exactly the cliché that transforms this Ben Affleck gambling movie into a very successful production. It’s like the ‘Fast and Furious’ or ‘2 Fast 2 Furious’ where you have a clear idea of what may happen before it does. Some may say that this lowers the potential of the movie but don’t forget that 7 producers and writers made Runner Runner with Leonardo DiCaprio among them. You can expect excellent performance from the actors because they feature well-known names too. This combination transforms the Runner Runner story into a pleasant adventure to watch and enjoy. You can barely understand when something is a cliché or not. For example, we identified a few of the greatest clichés and we put them for comparison in the following table. We used several criteria to asses each of them so you can get a more reasonable answer of whether this Ben Affleck online gambling movie is a cliché or not.

The Cliché of: Impact in the Runner Runner Movie Order of Appearance Seen in Other Movies: Used Mostly by:
1. Mentor and protégé 10/10 Mid Many Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake
2. Everybody gambles 4/10 Earlier Very Few Ben Affleck
3. Putting the bad guy in the eyes of the law 9/10 Later Many Anthony Mackie
4. Poker goes together with money, girls, parties 7/10 Mid Very Few Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton
5. Transferring all the information via flash drive 9/10 End Few Justin Timberlake
6. Following the American dream of getting rich 7/10 Earlier Many Justin Timberlake

Overall, there are plenty of clichés used in the Runner Runner movie, but the actor game and the directing are so good that you could hardly notice these effects. So, our table is indeed not complete. The two leading actors Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake played so well that we further examined their performance in the next section.

Top Actor Game of Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake

There are two main approaches to this question – firstly, the subjective one: what’s our opinion based on actual observations. Secondly, the more objective approach where we will try to assess the play of both actors and to put it in perspective with numbers, criteria, etc.

Ivan Block (Ben Affleck) Playing the Bad Guy in Runner Runner Movie

First things first, the best actor game definitely goes to, with a solid 10 out of 10 points, Ben Affleck. This is by far the best Ben Affleck gambling movie and we have no doubts about it. It played the bad role, the dominant role, the role of the mentor, and just about every single replica of Ben Affleck (Ivan Block in the movie) make you agree with him. By contrast, Justin Timberlake (as Richie Furst) was a little bit of a naïve guy and yet quite confident in his decisions. If you have to answer ‘Is the movie entertaining?’ – then yes, it absolutely is, and it is mainly due to the role of Ben Affleck. He is the guy who understands everything and everyone, and you could easily laugh on its character and even on the jokes he uses. Justin Timberlake played quite differently. He didn’t use bad or illegal methods until he was pushed to. Justin Timberlake played a wonderful role as the good guy who easily starts an affair with the most beautiful girl, which is another cliché by itself. However, the Runner Runner storyline is all about who will defeat and outsmart who and by what means. So, although we will not tell you how the movie ends, we will just tell you that Ben Affleck played the ‘powerful/stronger’ role from the beginning to the end of the movie.

For the objective part, we put into perspective both actors and we analysed them by using some key criteria. Well, it is hard to make a conclusion of who played the best because both Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake are world-renowned actors and they have many iconic movies in their filmographies. Runner Runner is the first one when we have them both starring at once. Check out the following short recap of both actors and you will get the idea.

Name of the Actor Appeared in How Many Films? First Movie Role in: Year Famous as (Except Actor) Awards Won
Ben Affleck 50 1981 Director, Producer, Screenwriter 54
Justin Timberlake 21 2000 Singer-songwriter, Dancer, Record producer 173

Overall, there is no better actor when we have to compare Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake because they both are amazing! Justin Timberlake started his film career much later than Ben Affleck, but he (J.T.) managed to win more awards. However, that doesn’t mean that Justin Timberlake played better his role in Runner Runner. Subjectively, we think that the bad guy played best his character and actually Runner Runner is the best Ben Affleck online gambling movie.

Did the Special Effects Really Made the Movie Better?

Finally, we should highlight the special and environmental effects used in the movie because the exotic atmosphere of Costa Rica is something not to be missed. Don’t forget that Runner Runner is not a new movie by any means. It originated in 2013 which is more than 5 years ago and lots of things changed since then. You should know where was Runner Runner filmed in the first place. It is not Costa Rica as it appears so in the movie because most of the exotic scenes took place in Puerto Rico. This beautiful Caribbean island is famous for its lush green tropical scenery with palm trees, fine sand beaches and famous coastal resorts with marinas, yachts, bars, etc. There is no doubt that the beautiful scenery of Puerto Rico is as close as it gets to Costa Rica’s.

Movie Screenshot of the Exotic Green Scenery in Costa Rica

The Runner Runner movie captures this natural beauty in the best possible way too. From the sounds of the exotic birds during the calm scenes to the noise of the beach parties in the night-time – you definitely will be transported over there while you are watching the movie.

Some may ask ‘Who even cares about the exotic tropical environment when you have to deal with such serious things?’, and actually, they will be right. The scenery is so nicely captured that it seamlessly coalesces with the main storyline. The exotic ambience becomes a part of the movie and you become a part of it too. The special and environmental effects played a major role in the overall atmosphere. There is not a lot of special effects and yet, there are some. For example, let’s take the filming of the dizziness of Richie when he entered the night party at the beginning of the film.

Special Sound and Video Effects in Runner Runner Movie

Also, you could even hear the sound of boat engines during the first conversation on the boat of Ivan Block. Definitely, the place where Runner Runner was filmed played a significant role in the overall impression that you get just by watching and enjoying the scenes. The background sounds of nature, the amazing views of luxury apartments, as well as the combination of beautiful yachts, cars and girls in one place is one quite a promising combination.

The Runner Runner Movie: Q&As

Overall, this Ben Affleck online gambling movie is highly recommended to watch, especially if you are a gambler who loves playing online poker. You can experience an amazing journey in the world of poker gambling in a pretty entertaining way – just by watching a movie. However, you will easily place yourself in the position of either Richie or Ivan or both. It couldn’t be any other way when their roles are played by two of the best actors: Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake! The Runner Runner movie is a real treat to watch and now you know some pretty intriguing details after reading this review. Hope you’ve enjoyed and last but not least – check out the following section with frequently asked questions which could give you the answers of even more uncertainties.

Q&A About the Best Ben Affleck Gambling Movie

Is the Runner Runner Movie Predictable?

From the scale of 1 to 10 – the answer is 'Yes, it is 9 out of 10 predictable'. You can understand who is the good and the bad guy even from the beginning of the movie. 'Is Runner Runner a true story?' – the answer is No. As the movie is not based on a true story but it's a fiction. Although, it has its fair share of cliché moments, the main storyline is quite plausible when it comes down to legal/illegal online poker. The suspense is very little and most of the scenes look quite conventional for a typical 'Fast and Furious' movie. You know exactly what and when will happen but after all, it is a good movie and it has its fabulous moments which you will remember long after watching it.

Were the Movie Directors Gamblers or Did They Know How to Gamble?

Yes, the Runner Runner movie is created by a team of quite good writers and producers who know a lot about gambling and especially poker. David Levien and Brian Koppelman wrote other gambling-related movies like Rounders (1998) and Ocean's Thirteen (2007) which are also highly recommended to watch. Additionally, Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the producers of the Runner Runner movie, so you should be well aware what we are talking about if you watched 'The Wolf of Wall Street' at least once, for example.

Who Played the Best Role of a Gambler – B.A. or J.T.?

It should be Ben Affleck! Well, it is true that he played the 'bad' boy, but he played it quite nicely. He used illegal methods, he was the more powerful character and mentor, and maybe his role was more advantageous, or the better one. Hands down for Justin Timberlake as well but our vote goes to Ben Affleck.

Is Online Gambling Legal in Costa Rica?

No, it is illegal! Residents of this Central American country are not allowed to gamble legally on any game that provides random results. However, gambling operators like the company of Ivan Block (Ben Affleck) took advantage of the many loopholes that are not permitted by the US gambling law. For instance, according to this article, 'the physical location of an operator’s server isn’t where gambling takes place making it legal for companies to offer the online gambling services from Costa Rica'. That's what inspired the main storyline in the Runner Runner movie to take place in Costa Rica.

Justin Timberlake Played the Role of a Naïve Boy: True or False?

This is quite true indeed. There were many scenes throughout the film when Richie easily believed what he was told. From the opening scenes when he played online poker all night long to the talking with Ivan Block after his invitation on the yacht – Richie certainly was a kind of a naïve character. He believed just about everything that Rebecca Shafran (Gemma Arterton) told him even he barely met her for the first time.

Is It Possible for a Business Jet to Take Off Without Permission?

The end scene when the business jet took off unnoticed by the police was quite pretty surrealistic and impressive in the meantime. As a matter of fact, the pilot of the business jet could have already requested permission from the CT but also remember that Richie (Justin Timberlake) was involved in bribing a lot of local police officers. It was not revealed who they were exactly, but they could have been some guys from the airport and thus to allow him to take-off secretly with the business jet right after landing.

Is Runner Runner a True Story and Are There Poker Winners in Reality?

Although there are no official publications that the film is based on true events, it is safe to say that this or very similar to this story could happen to everyone. It is only enough to lose illegally a lot of money in online poker and to be brave enough to 'fight for justice'. There are many stories for real big winners in online poker and fortunately, these game sessions took place in a much more regulated and safer place than the one depicted in the Runner Runner movie.

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