Sunday, February 21, 2016

Mississippi Grind

A competent but hard-lucked gambling junkie (Ben Mendelson) meets a charming stranger (Ryan Reynolds) at an Iowa poker table and finds his fortune immediately reversing. Developing an immediate friendship, the two take to the road hitting every high and low end game along the muddy Mississippi en route to a $25,000 buy-in in New Orleans. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's Mississippi Grind is an intelligently written character study that doesn't spoon feed its audiences and allows them to think without spelling everything out. The two stars have great chemistry, Ben Mendelson's performance is quite excellent, and Reynolds finds a tailor made role and, surprisingly, follows through nicely. Further, great southern locations add to the film's flavor and Sienna Miller and Analeigh Tipton are also strong, playing prostitutes and love interests. A film of this rare quality makes you realize that in the deluge of films being processed today, some excellent are slipping by unnoticed On Demand while big budget dreck continues to plague our theaters.
*** 1/2 out of ****