By Jen Sidorova, February 2 2018 —
The life story of Molly Bloom, femme fatale and poker princess, combined with a screenplay written by the Oscar-winning Aaron Sorkin, is a cinematic royal flush — proven by its 2018 Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
Bloom, a former United States Olympic skier, garnered serious fame following a Supreme Court case related to her elite undercover poker ring. The drugs, alcohol and scandalous appearances by movie stars in Bloom’s luxury poker rooms — a combination of glitter, glamour and danger — was perfect for a Hollywood criminal drama à la American Hustle and Casino.
Sorkin, who wrote brilliant screenplays for Moneyball and Social Network, sits in the director’s chair. There’s obvious influence from Social Network director David Fincher in Molly’s Game. Sorkin adopts features of Fincher’s directing style. As a result, some events in Molly’s Game are shot in rapid succession akin to a music video.
It is understandable why Sorkin adopted this approach. With the oversaturation of content through news feeds and social media, people receive over-simplified information at a rapid pace. When Molly’s Game explains the rules of poker in a quick, snappy manner, it feels like scrolling through a web page on a smartphone. By making smart use of society’s gadget addiction, Sorkin cleverly maintains audience attention.
The casting of Jessica Chastain as Bloom, however, almost spoils the reality of Molly’s Game. The real Bloom doesn’t have Chastain’s charisma and charm. Despite a Kardashian-like presentation, Chastain’s character is supposed to be both weak and strong at the same time — a goodie-two-shoes under the mask of a predator. The poker business may bring high profits, but it kills genuinity.
By the end of Molly’s Game, Bloom is not a badass crime boss. Struggling with addiction, she’s just a woman who realizes far too late that she doesn’t need violence or wealth to be loved.