Ben Campbell is a young, highly intelligent, student at M.I.T. in Boston who strives to succeed. Wanting a scholarship to transfer to Harvard School of Medicine with the desire to become a doctor, Ben learns that he cannot afford the $300,000 for the four to five years of schooling as he comes from a poor, working-class background. But one evening, Ben is introduced by his unorthodox math professor Micky Rosa into a small but secretive club of five. Students Jill, Choi, Kianna, and Fisher, who are being trained by Professor Rosa of the skill of card counting at blackjack. Intrigued by the desire to make money, Ben joins his new friends on secret weekend trips to Las Vegas where, using their skills of code talk and hand signals, they have Ben make hundreds of thousands of dollars in winning blackjack at casino after casino. Ben only wants to make enough money for the tuition to Harvard and then back out. But as fellow card counter, Jill Taylor, predicts, Ben becomes corrupted by greed ... Written by
Boston University students were used as extras in many of the classroom scenes. See more »
In the shot of Ben counting cards on the first arrival in Vegas, Ben's tray-table is down. If the plane is as close to arriving as the view from the window shows, tray-tables must be in the "up and locked" position. See more »
I personally think that Jim Sturgess is a very promising actor. His stage presence was believable and he has a lot in store for him. Being a film with Sturgess, Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishbourne, I was pretty stoked for this film. However, 21 turns out to be quite drawn out and the trailer for the film seemed more exciting.
The story is inspired by a very popular book called "Bringing Down the House". The main character, Ben Campbell, goes to MIT and need 300,000 dollars to go to med school. To suffice this requirement, he is invited by a group of students to a Blackjack group. He learns the technique of counting cards and goes to Las Vegas every weekend to make money and enjoy the high roller life at the same time.
The premise of the story sounds very interesting. However the story seems to stray to many Hollywood clichés. Despite interesting characters, it can be pretty obvious how the characters affect the plot. The film also incorporate multiple strands of storyline together into one film. The film is built of Ben's experiences in Las Vegas, his relationship with his older friends/his mom, and the security professional who is trying to put an end to the Blackjack Team. Although the transitions between storyline are effective, the side stories aren't very exciting to watch and again it is pretty predictable.
The dialogue is very slick and fluid although I was not completely assured by Sturgess's ability to act and speak in American English. Also, the film doesn't throughly explain the concept of counting cards. I was confused to what he was doing at many points during the film. Also I think it was possible to cut out some of the scenes in the film. It got a little drawn out and wasn't adding much to the overall story plot.
When the ending was nearing, I felt like this was going to end very poorly. It had caused me to temporarily not like any of the characters. However, the film went a little further in the ending than I thought it was going to be and it turned to be a fulfilling ending. Overall, 21 was a bit of a disappointment. Despite the slick dialogue and promising story, it became too predictable and drawn out.
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