Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake in Runner, Runner


DIRECTOR: Brad Furman

CAST: Justin Timberlake, Ben Affleck, Gemma Arterton and Anthony Mackie


RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes

RATING: 3 stars (out of 5)

Munya Vomo

This year has been really good to Justin Timberlake. His album The 20/20 Experience has done very well, he has two hits with Jay-Z and a new movie, Runner Runner, which is set to do great things for him.

The remaining members of the defunct band N’Sync must be really envious as their former frontman keeps getting great jobs while they simply languish.

In this action thriller the singer stars as Richie Furst, a maths geek who is struggling to raise tuition fees for his tertiary studies. To make ends meet, Furst runs an underground gambling circuit on campus. In an incident in which he bets all his savings in an all-or- nothing online match, Furst loses everything and soon discovers there is more to it all than just a gambling game.

Soon Furst is travelling around the world looking for the man who runs the site, Ivan Block (Affleck), to confront him about the façade of a website he is running. When they meet, things don’t go as planned as Furst is enticed into joining the company to make a fortune for himself.

What Furst doesn’t realise is that Block, who is under investigation by the FBI, is setting him up as the fall guy for all the schemes organised by the bogus company.

Things get interesting when Furst finds out about this and proceeds to weave himself out of the sticky situation.

The reason most of us love Timberlake is that he is actually a convincing actor. He makes each character he takes on believable and Runner Runner is no different.

Also, it helps that he stars next to Oscar material, Affleck, who has more depth than he had in Argo.

As a whole Runner, Runner is not a classic, or something you will want to get for keeps on DVD, but for the 91 minutes that you’ll watch it for the first time, you will enjoy every moment of it.

Anthony Mackie, who plays an FBI agent, also gives us some impressive screen time with his bad cop antics. The scenery, too, which is mostly exotic, gives the film a holiday feel which is refreshing.

You won’t see this film at next year’s Academy Awards, but it is a sober effort.

If you liked 21 and Rounders then you will like this film.