Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Cinema: Don't Count on Any Risks; 21 (12A, 122 Mins) Drama. Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, Aaron Yoo, Liza Lapira, Jacob Pitts. Director: Robert Luketic.****

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Cinema: Don't Count on Any Risks; 21 (12A, 122 Mins) Drama. Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, Aaron Yoo, Liza Lapira, Jacob Pitts. Director: Robert Luketic.****

Article excerpt

DATING back to 17th Century France, blackjack is a deceptively simple game of luck and skill that remains a firm favourite with gamblers.

The rules are simple: Take successive hits from the deck, against other players and the dealer, to accumulate the highest scoring hand without exceeding 21 points.

Naturally, the odds are stacked heavily in favour of the house - unless you attempt to count cards to assess the likely probability of drawing a winning hand.

Adapted from Ben Mezrich's fascinating book Bringing Down The House: The Inside Story Of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas For Millions, Robert Luketic's new film is a high-stakes drama about a group of academically gifted youngsters who risk everything in the gambling capital of the world.

Unlike its risk-taking protagonists, 21 plays safe, sticking with two-dimensional characters whose emotional journey is far too linear.

The hero of this lack-lustre yarn is Ben Campbell (Sturgess), one of the most gifted seniors at MIT, who has been accepted to Harvard Medical School and now needs EUR300,000 for the tuition.

A chance to raise the cash presents itself when classmate Jill (Bosworth) recruits him to a club run by maths professor Micky Rosa (Spacey).

The teacher hopes to teach Ben how to beat the odds at blackjack and outwit old-school security chief Cole Williams (Fishburne). …

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