The Film 21: Blackjack Winner Or Bust?
Directed by Robert Luketic and starring the likes of Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishburne, it’s a story based on real life events that are portrayed in Ben Mezrich’s best-selling book, Bringing Down the House. It was a box office hit and sat proudly in the number one spot for the first two weeks after its release in both the USA and Canada.
The story centres around Ben Campbell who has managed to get himself a place at Harvard Medical School but as you’d expect, he cannot afford the hefty $300,000 fee. An MIT professor, after Ben did superbly well on an equations paper, is invited to join the professor’s blackjack team and this is where the journey really begins. Ben, alongside fellow students, learns how to count cards and work within a complicated system that would see them profit at a blackjack table.
The success of blackjack sees Ben lose focus on his studies, he lives a sort of play boy lifestyle, due to the amount of money he is cashing in regularly. It’s what you’d expect from a younger person who is winning big gambling. Enjoying the highlife is just part and parcel of everyday life as a high roller at the blackjack table. This sees Ben fast lose the friends he had from before his time on the blackjack team and he then starts to lose money, his studies suffer greatly and casino security are watching him very closely.
The group has one last chance to win big really due to the fact that casinos were about to install software that would identify those operating card counting systems, meaning their methods would no longer be successful. It’s sort of one last job, a final pay day. Ben gets the team back together and also insists that Rosa, the professor and also a former successful player himself, joins as they look to hit Planet Hollywood one last time.
There had been strange goings on prior to the last job that Ben thought Rosa was behind so this was his chance to find out for sure whether his professor’s intentions are genuine or whether he is just out to take all the winnings for himself. The ending is spectacular as it is full of twists, turns and betrayal that sees one man walk away with more than $600,000.
The film is a great story of how gambling successfully can indeed provide people with the high life and everything that comes with it. It also shows that this brings jealousy and can also see people lose focus and not only that but friends too. Ben and Co showed you can teach yourself card counting but in the end it attracted too much attention, and they ultimately became croppers due to the success of the system that they were operating.
Check out 21.
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