RUN TIME 108 min
Gerry is a talented poker player, but his gambling habit is getting the best of him. One day, he meets a charismatic young traveler named Curtis. Deeming Curtis his lucky charm, Gerry convinces him that they should hit the road together. As they gamble their way down South toward a legendary high-stakes poker game in New Orleans, the trip’s highs and lows unveil the duo’s true character and motivation, and an undeniable bond forms between them.
Writers/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck return to the Sundance Film Festival (Half Nelson, Sugar) with an intoxicating story of compulsive gamblers that flawlessly captures the seedy world of small-time losers and dreamers. The film’s atmosphere of frenzied hope and paranoia at the various racetracks, bars, and casinos is suffused with an evocative soundtrack and enlivened by two pitch-perfect performances. Ryan Reynolds shines as the confident, jocular Curtis. But the film’s true revelation is Ben Mendelsohn, who, as Gerry, is finally given a leading role in an American film and crushes it. Mississippi Grind instantly joins the classic canon of films about gambling. —T.G.
COMPANY Electric City Entertainment