Mississippi Grind

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Mississippi Grind

Mississippi Grind depicts a tale of two men on the road for a massive payday. The pair of Gerry and Curtis, two juxtaposed characters who hit it off in a Mississippi bar, are brought to life by Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds. The star-studded duo is directed by equally talented counterparts Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, who also wrote the screenplay. Fleck and Boden rose to fame with their critically acclaimed Half Nelson, starring Ryan Gosling, and Sugar, a baseball classic. Eventually, Fleck and Boden hit the blockbusters with Captain Marvel. However, they're known to bring a refreshing perspective to the well-trodden subject matter. Where Mississippi Grind sits on the echelon of casino and gambling movies is up for debate. It can divide opinion, but there's more on bestcasinosites.net to help with the nuances. 

The Plot

The story takes place down the Mississippi River, where the pair travel along, hitting up casinos looking to cash in their luck. The final destination is a high-stakes poker game in New Orleans, where Gerry hopes to win enough cash to solve all his problems. Gerry, a down on his luck real-estate agent, thinks he's one big win away from clearing his severe gambling debt. He's been here before and cuts the figure of an addict when, in Dubuque, Iowa, he meets Curtis, who is his antithesis. The jaunty and insouciant character tries to teach Gerry when "Machu Picchu time" is, which is when he leaves town. Gerry's past catches up with him when a debt collector insists on paying what he owes. The ensuing events are constructed around this premise, and the two head to New Orleans to play in a $25,000 buy-in poker game. 

Gerry feels that Curtis and his happy-go-lucky nature are his rabbit's foot. The sort of odd couple then takes their adventure on the road, with outlandish events proceeding them. The film's endeavours feature many acts you would come to expect, like romance, in the form of Curtis' infatuation with sex worker Simone (Sienna Miller); suspense, with the high-octane betting in the casinos; conflict, the many situations that cause distress along their journey. In all, the plot offers a delta of sub-plots within the main confines of the over-arching theme of a gambling movie.

Cast

When it comes to the cast, this is where the film may hold its trump card. The main protagonists are played by Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds, who offer nothing but splendid performances throughout. Where the story may have lulls and may not captivate every audience member, the engagement of the characters and the emotional harmony manifested is commendable. They are joined by Sienna Miller and her riveting portrayal of Simone; Analeigh Tipton, who brings Vanessa to life; and Alfre Woodard playing debt collector Sam. 

Themes

You would imagine a film predicated on casinos and gambling would feature these themes heavily. However, although that acts as a catalyst, the tones are made up of addiction, trust, friendship, love, loyalty and redemption. Gerry, whose problems with addiction are clear, is on a path to win money through gambling, and the final scene offers some semblance of redemption for a character considered to be down and out. The overriding sentiment is that he relied on his addiction to get him out of a problem that it got him into, which, in itself, carries its own negative connotations. The romance between Curtis and Simone is obvious, yet it's his trusting nature and loyalty to Gerry that resonates so profoundly. 

The Great American Dream

The film can also reflect much of the ethos of the American Dream. In which, people in peril can always dig themselves out of it. It preaches opportunity, prosperity, mobility and little barriers. However, it can glorify the ease that people can get out of such problems or addiction. Which shows that it lacks a crucial element of the dream: hard work. 

Nevertheless, the film as acts a good barometer for using a tool (gambling) and using it to explore a plethora of themes within a story. The directors' use of their cast and the direction in which they moved is captivating. In totality, it may not stand to be the greatest casino movie ever, but it does have its place in the tapestry of storytelling.