Reviewed by: Rick Davis
What does the Bible say about adultery? Answer
How can I spend my money more wisely? Answer
Does the Bible share any wisdom about investing? Answer
How can I decide whether a particular activitysuch as smoking, gambling, etc.—is wrong? Answer
Should Christians be involved with lotteries or other forms of gambling? Answer
|Featuring:||Shaun Aponik, Fethi Bendida, Eric Bruno Borgman, Kate Bosworth, Patrick Canty, Kieu Chinh, Sean Paul Cormier, Roger Dillingham Jr., Anthony DiMaria, Laurence Fishburne, Steve Flynn, Josh Gad, Spencer Garrett, Sam Golzari, Rob W. Gray, Emily Griffin, Joseph Guglielmo, Christopher Michael Holley, Kristin Hughes, Edmund J. Janas, Michael Kelly, Liza Lapira, Ernell Manabat, Rebecca Marshall, Jack McGee, Derek Nelson, Giovanni Pantaleo, Aaron J. Patton, Bob Pepper, Jacob Pitts, Alan Resnic, Jessi Shuttleworth, Kevin Spacey, Jim Sturgess, A.J. Sullivan, Kal Thompson, Christopher Tranchina, Henry Fleming Wood, Michael Yebba, Aaron Yoo|
|Producer:||William S. Beasley, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca, Ryan Kavanaugh, Brett Ratner, Kevin Spacey|
“Inspired by the true story of five students who changed the game forever.”
This story is based on the book Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions. I was very interested in this movie and heard it was decent and suspenseful. MIT senior Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) has worked hard all his life with a goal of attending Harvard Medical School. Getting in isn’t the problem—he’s already been accepted—but paying for it is. He is a brilliant student and very likeable. He has two friends that are very close that seem to love the simpler things of life. Ben is the honest, hardworking, innocent boy next door you would want your daughter to meet. Life gets complicated when he learns his only chance to pay for Harvard Medical School is to obtain a full scholarship. His problem is that while he has all the genius and credentials necessary, he has no life experience to set him apart from the other applicants, which seems to be the clinching detail.
His brilliance is observed in class by Professor Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey) who eventually leads Ben into a card counting scheme with a secret team of classmates led by Rosa. As the team goes to Vegas, they begin to win incredible amounts of money at the blackjack table. Ben’s life slowly changes, as he is caught up in the glitz and glamour of living in the fast lane. He falls in love with teammate Jill (Kate Bosworth), and the team’s success eventually catches the attention of casino security enforcer Cole Williams (Laurence Fishburne).
As one might expect, there are very tense moments and quite a lot of action and suspense, as security tries to catch them counting cards. We see Ben turn away from his friends back in Boston and embrace a very worldly life. There are several twists and turns producing excitement about what will happen next. Eventually, all turns out okay, and Ben rejects the fast lane life, returning to his roots, although now he has a major life experience.
The movie sprinkles in a few minor curse words and, sadly, uses God’s name in vain once. Even in his more innocent stage, Ben engages in drinking beer at a tavern with his friends, and this is portrayed as normal college activity. Throughout the movie, we witness Ben slowing being seduced by the lure of making money quick and then falling into the pit of a hedonistic lifestyle. Ben commits fornication with Jill, although it is a brief shot and nothing is shown.
There are two scenes of Cole beating an individual caught counting cards. There are at least four instances of the team meeting at a “safe place” strip club where background scenery shows women in thongs dancing on poles. While one might see as much on the beach in a foreign country, it was unnecessary. There is one instance of a sexual innuendo and one inappropriate exchange between Jill and Ben at the club. The background shots at the club disturbed me and only added to the debauchery of Vegas.
“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl” Job 31:1 NIV.
Because of the background shots that had nothing to do with the story and the taking of God’s name in vain, I cannot recommend this movie to other Christians.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.