Film Review: 21 (directed by Robert Luketic)

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by Gregory Bernard on December 7, 2018

in Extras,Film


What happens when you put together a team of young, money-driven fanatics? Yes, something exceptional. 21 features a team of six talented students of MIT, led by their aberrant Math professor, who master the art of card counting, code talks, and body gestures to conquer the world of Casino in Vegas. The movie also depicts how the urge to earn money and later having lots of money influence their lives.


The story more often than not revolves around Ben, a student from MIT who is exceptionally good at Math but dreams about studying Medicine at Harvard. Ben Campbell, played by Jim Sturgess, comes from a middle-class family and finds the required tuition fee of $300000 to get admission in Harvard unaffordable. Professor Rosa, played by Kevin Spacey, teaches Math at MIT, is impressed with Ben’s mathematical abilities ever since Ben correctly solved a mathematical problem thrown his way. Rosa finds out one of Ben’s results, 97 percent marks, and recognizes his talent in the field of numbers. Impressed enough, he introduces Ben to his team of 5 outstanding students who are on a mission to crack Blackjack’s code.

Ben, however, even in the dire need of money to turn his dreams into a reality, initially declines the offer to join the “blackjack team” but eventually surrenders and joins the team. The team of six students is trained by Professor Rosa about the card-counting skill of blackjack. The team goes on a secret weekend trip to Vegas where — with a combination of code talk, body gestures, and card counting — they win millions of dollars in various big Casinos of Vegas, one after other.


The journey to being Blackjack masters from a bunch of MIT students was not a smooth one; there were troubles and setbacks along the way. It was no easy task for Professor Rosa to discover and convince six talented students of MIT to form a team who would go on mastering the game of Blackjack. As depicted in the movie, it was hard for the students, specially Ben, to join a team heading for such a mission. Later on, the team and the professor find it hard to master the art of card counting and develop a coordination in code talks and body gestures skills.

However, driven by an utter zeal of earning money, the team eventually masters the dark arts of blackjack. Ben, who earlier joins the team to earn just enough amount of money to pay his tuition fee at Harvard University, later finds it very difficult to let go of the luxury lifestyle and urge to earn more money everyday and deals with relationship issues. The team suffers mentally as they go through a major setback of losing over $200,000.

Based on a true story, unlike the fiction stories such as Inspector Gadget or Batman or The Mask, 21 is sure to please people with its unique and authentic content and a good cast.

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