Aaron Sorkin has been hiding this little ace up his sleeve for a while; waiting for the right story to show off his directorial debut. And what a cracking start.
No stranger to scripts, razor sharp: The West Wing, Social Network, Steve Jobs being a few examples! Here Sorkin trusts in his own dialogue with delicious elegance, acerbic wit and dramatic force. As expected, Jessica Chastain is sensational as the heroine of the title who was on track to be an Olympic skiing champion, until a freak accident took her out of the race. Enter a very different career as she inched her way into running the most infamous high-stakes poker game in Hollywood. Chastain biting into Sorkin's script in real time and in voiceover, where the poker diva counts all the cards for you.
The film transcends its subject matter. It’s not just a story about high stakes games for the rich and famous. By the final reel, Molly Bloom has been transformed into a Joan of Arc-like martyr, albeit who speaks and behaves like Katharine Hepburn in an old screwball comedy. (research Jack Whiting) Amid the fat awards list, decent for once, this one will stay the distance. Throw your hand in. Come and win.