MOVIE REVIEW | High stakes in poker tale

The true story of a high-stakes poker mogul, starring Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba and written and directed by Aaron Sorkin.

Molly’s Game has all the ingredients to be one of the best films of 2018.

However, one can’t help but wonder what the movie could have been if Sorkin had left the directing to someone like David Fincher, who helmed another of the prolific writer’s scripts, The Social Network.

There’s nothing wrong with Molly’s Game, it’s brilliantly led by Chastain (Miss Sloane) and tells the truly interesting story of Molly Bloom, but it just doesn’t leave you with that feeling that the true greats do.

And Sorkin sure can deliver a great piece of work – he’s the man responsible for A Few Good Men, Moneyball, Steve Jobs and The West Wing, among others.

The story centres around Bloom’s creation and management of a high-stakes poker game for America’s rich and famous.

Strong performances: Jessica Chastain, with Idris Elba, plays Molly Bloom in the true-story of her crazy tale, Molly's Game, rated M, in cinemas now.

Strong performances: Jessica Chastain, with Idris Elba, plays Molly Bloom in the true-story of her crazy tale, Molly's Game, rated M, in cinemas now.

Bloom – a former Olympic-level skier whose career was cut short by injury – was incredibly successful and ran her game within the confines of the law before being taken down by the FBI and tied to the Russian mafia.

The film cuts back and forth between Bloom working on her defence with her lawyer (the always brilliant Idris Elba, The Dark Tower) and her time building up the poker night.

Like much of Chastain’s previous work, Molly’s Game is all about a woman carving her own path in a male-dominated industry.

It’s the type of glass ceiling-shattering, boundary-pushing fare that Chastain – a vocal advocate for equal pay and the Time’s Up movement – thrives on.

What it is not, despite its general plotline, is a poker film in the vein of Rounders, Mississippi Grind or Lucky You.

The film is filled with quality support cast, starting with Kevin Costner (who despite receiving prominent billing and trailer time is not in the movie for very long), Michael Cera, Chris O’Dowd, Bill Camp and Brian D’Arcy James.

Molly’s Game is definitely worth a watch as it features some great performances, but it’s not likely to make your list of the year’s top films – which is probably why it only scored one Oscar nomination.