The Movie 21 This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 19, 2010
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Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) is an aspiring med student who attends MIT and has the grades, smarts, and competence as a student. But like most college students, he doesn’t have the $300,000 he needs to get into Harvard Medical School. While attending MIT Ben is part of a team in a science competition with his friends. Their project proves Isaac Newton wrong and pegs him at being a thief. The accomplishment of this task intrigues the crafty MIT professor Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey).

Ben is invited to join Rosa’s MIT’s card counting team. They go on trips to Vegas between classes with only one goal: To win as much as they can without getting caught. Ben quickly begins to realize the excitement of this lifestyle. With their brilliant minds, and card counting skill they take Vegas by storm, casino after casino. Ben (Sturgess) sees this as a perfect opportunity to get the money he needs for medical school and once he gets enough money, he says he is done for good…Or is he?

Ben continues to count, which continues to go from bad to worse. Ben only wanted to stay in this until he got enough money for Harvard. He had fallen for his teammate Jill Taylor (Kate Bosworth) who had also predicted Ben would be corrupted by the greediness of card counting. His corruption creates trouble for Professor Rosa, and his team as they are now under the watchful eye of the casino security enforcer Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne). Cole and Rosa go way back, which threatens everything the students have learned and what they have earned counting so far.

Back at school Ben is distracted from the current 2.0.9 competition he is competing in with his friends. They kick Ben off the team and proceed to do the project on their own. Still distracted on their next trip to Vegas, Ben slips up and doesn’t leave when he is signaled to do so. He loses a lot of money, causing Mickey to storm out and leave the team to fend for themselves. Campbell shortly after apprehends Ben and beats him. Leaving him with only two things: a threat and a strong warning.

Ben returns back to MIT after his trip only to find that he had received an incomplete in Mickey’s class, and therefore will not be able to graduate. He also realizes that his winnings from the previous trips have been taken from his room also. He proposes a deal with Mickey, making him be a card counter on the next trip, to see how difficult it is. Mickey agrees, and they are off to Vegas once again.

As the end of the movie approaches we find out that the whole time his team was not planning to win loads of money on this trip, but they were going to turn Mickey over to Campbell. As we find out shortly after, Campbell had struck a deal with Ben making him believe that he could keep his winnings if they brought Mickey to him. We then see Ben and his team along with his two friends walking out of the casino and on to a new life. The movie ends with Ben telling his story to the scholarship administrator. The administrator was dazzled.

Director Robert Luketic transforms the classic version of 21 into an action “on the edge of your seat” thriller. Choosing to portray this movie in the P.O.V of Ben was clearly a fantastic choice on Luketic’s part. This movie filled with greed and consequences, movie fans everywhere can mark this movie as one of the best so far.





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