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21 (2008)
Inspired by a true story, 21 mixes Las Vegas casino wheeling and dealing with college-kid angst. Kevin Spacey is crafty MIT professor Micky Rosa, who trains gifted students to count cards and then flies them out to Vegas to raid the blackjack tables between classes.

At first they rake in a bundle, but then catch the unwanted attention of tough-guy security chief, Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne) who wants to prove himself before he's replaced by face recognition software.

Maths genius Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) originally joins the ring in order to come up with the $300,000 he needs for tuition money, but he's also smitten with the ring's resident babe, Jill (Kate Bosworth). When he finds out Professor Rosa hasn't been dealing entirely from a straight deck, Ben's high-end shopping spree dreams turn sour (though card counting is not illegal) and the battle of wits is on, no second chances given.

Spacey is in his preternaturally calm, morally compromised element, stealing scenes left and right; Fishburne brings the hangdog depth; and director Robert Luketic (LEGALLY BLONDE) succeeds in making the film glossy, stylish and thrilling. 21 is based on the bestseller BRINGING DOWN THE HOUSE by Ben Mezrich.

Now I have to say that from the beginning of this film nothing makes sense. All the facts about playing team Blackjack in the 21st century are utter rubbish. The tactics employed would have been out of date in the early 1970s. The simplicity of their team structure and attack methods beggers anyones belief and the ease with which they win is laughable.

The behaviour of the casino staff is straight from Disney World and Ben's ability to store $300,000 in cash in the false ceiling space in his student digs questions whether his IQ is on a par with a chimpanzee.

My conclusion is that this film was paid for by the large casino firms in an attempt to stop the decline in their business. And there is no sex? In Vegas!

Score 3 out of 10 for very good cinematography.
Marks : 3/10
Director Robert Luketic Kevin Spacey Prof. Micky Rosa
Producer Kevin Spacey Jim Sturgess Ben Campbell
Writing Peter Steinfeld Kate Bosworth Jill Taylor
Cinematography Russell Carpenter Laurence Fishburne Cole Williams
Cert./Runtime 123 mins Aaron Yoo Choi
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