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21 : Movie Review


Who can't remember the simple game of blackjack? Almost everyone knows this game of trying to get that ever elusive "21" but what is most special about this card game is that the house can lose its advantage over the player. The bettor has equal or better chances of winning. 21 the movie is loosely based and inspired by the infamous MIT Blackjack Team (using card counting techniques and codes) who swept and the casinos of Las Vegas. The movie tries to portray the dangerous yet rewarding and extravagant lifestyles that these kids had during their hey day.

The movie revolves around Ben Campbell. A graduating student who only dreams of getting into Harvard Med ever since he was a kid. The problem starts when he does gets accepted to Harvard Med but do not have the funds to fully pay his tuition. He thus tries to go for the scholarship but finds out that even though he had outstanding credentials, all the other 70 or so contenders have similar credentials. To put it simply, there's a great possibility he won't get the scholarship. One day, his teacher (Kevin Spacey) realizes Ben's talent in mathematics and invites him to his blackjack team and introduces him to their card-counting techniques. Ben tries to gather the money for Harvard through blackjack.

The movie itself was really good although a bit on the long side. We believe it could have been shorter but everything else was well-made. The story was unpredictable, it had a lot of twists and actually was well-thought of. We could really feel the tension building up when others in the team became jealous with each other. You could see that playing Vegas was not that easy; it was quite harrowing and really dangerous. The movie brought out the emotions one could feel if he was part of a group of people trying to cheat their way in Vegas. We also felt that the changes within the characters were very subtle. The ending was something else too. A word of warning though, the mechanics of the card-counting was quite confusing when it was explained in the movie, for us, avoid trying to understand it (well I guess for "math geniuses" like the both of us).



Rating : 4 reels




Why you should watch this movie:

- action packed and its full of surprises
- watch out for the twist in the end

Why you should not watch this movie:
- it's quite long
- card counting is disguised as a simple tool yet it's so hard to understand!
- um...statistics...probabilities..mathematics...bummer!!!
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