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First viewing of the movie 21 Essay Sample

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First viewing of the movie 21 Essay Sample

My first viewing of the movie 21 was on Sunday, April 20 at 4:35pm at Harkins Tempe Marketplace. Due to job obligations with my companies quarter end, I was unable to view the movie again until Saturday morning, April 26 at 10:30am at Harkins Tempe Marketplace. The first viewing had an audience of approximately 125 people of various ages. Due to the early hour of my second viewing there were only 10 people all over the age of approximately 40. When this movie was released I believe it did hit number one.

I believe it already has made money in the U.S. It is in the process of being released to other countries and will be very well received and make plenty of money to recoup what Sony spent to make this movie. This movie falls into the genre of drama. Storyline The movie is based on a true story of Jeffrey Ma and a group of M. I. T. students that take Las Vegas casinos for millions using a high/low blackjack card counting system. The movie centers mostly on the main character Ben Campbell. Ben is a shy, brilliant student at M. I. T. particularly in math.

Ben has aspirations to go to Harvard medical school and in search of finding the $300k in funds for Harvard he is recruited into a group that turns the odds at playing blackjack in their favor. The group is lead by an unorthodox math professor Micky Rosa. The team has an intricate system of signals they use with the high/low card counting system allowing the team to beat the casinos. (Movietickets. com, 2008) Script The script is based on a true story of Jeffrey Ma and a group of six M. I. T. students that take Las Vegas casinos for millions using a high/low blackjack card counting system.

The movie gives credit to Jeffrey Ma and the book 21: Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich. (Mezrich, 2002) The screenplay credit goes to Peter Steinfield and Allan Loeb. Peter has brought us screenplays: Drowning Mona and Analyze That. Allan was employed as a Chicago Board of Trade until 1992. He gave it up and moved to Los Angeles to write scripts. He took a course at UCLA in script writing and started writing script after script. In 1997 he sold a script to DreamWorks The Second Time Around and The Only Living Boy in New York sold to Sony in 2004.

His first produced screenplay was released last year with Things We Lost in the Fire. If it were not for the attention to detail that Pete and Allan have excelled at the audience could easily have been lost. They took great pains to make sure the audience understood the high/low blackjack card counting system. Writing in scenes that show Ben being taught the words for the special communication such as glove=5, cat=9, sweet=16 etc. The spotter at the card table would communicate to the Player how hot the deck was in a sentence. To signal 16 the sentence would sound like this: This drink is so sweet.

The larger the number the more the Player would bet. (SonyPictures. com, 2008) Conflict The major conflict faced by the character is Ben ‚™s conflict over just making the 300 thousand for Harvard medical school and getting out. Once he started making the money and he got to become who ever he wanted to be in Las Vegas, his emotion took over and he did not want to give it up. Ben ‚™s mother passes him a check for $68,000, as a down payment for Harvard. He lies and says he was awarded the Robinson Scholarship. He thanked her and said she could keep the money she had worked so hard for all his life.

He is also conflicted over a 209 competition he has worked on for a year with his best friend Miles. When he shows up late for a meeting with the wrong computer chip for the robot Miles tells Ben his heart is just not in it and he is off the team. Ben is also conflicted over telling his friend or family about the double life he is leading. He has to make up lies about where he is every weekend when he is off gambling. Acting I found it interesting that there was so much background about Ben that is disclosed in the movie but very little about the other characters.

The part of Ben Campbell is played by Jim Sturgess. He is currently in the movie The Other Boleyn Girl. His film debut was in the Beatles musical Across the Universe. Jill Taylor is played by Kate Bosworth. She plays a role as a spotter on the team and becomes a love interest for Ben as well. Her character reveals that her father is dead and was a gambler and started teaching her at a very early age. She reveals when she was very young her father lost a bet and they did not have a good Christmas. I see her character as getting satisfaction from collecting money from the source that ruined her family.

Kate won the  ‚NsYoung Hollywood Award ‚Nin 2003 for the category of next generation-female. One of her first roles on the big screen was in The Horse Whisperer directed by Robert Redford. Micky Rosa is played by Kevin Spacey. His character development is probably purposely much more elusive as a way to get respect from this group of M. I. T. students. We learn from Cole that Micky was responsible for a loss of seven figures one night at a casino that Cole had been fired over. This had happened years before but Cole had been wanting to get revenge for a long time.

Micky is the brains behind the team and sets up training so they can perfect the method he has developed high/low card counting and communication system. He also comes up with the fake identification for each team member so they can dress and look the part in the casinos. Kevin won an Oscar for is performance as Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects in 1995. Choi is played by Aaron Yoo. His role in the team is to be a spotter he counts the cards in the deck at the black jack tables and signals when the deck is hot. His character development leads us to see him as a compulsive kleptomaniac.

He steals off the hotel carts, out of the hotel rooms almost anything he can get into his bag. He even steals a bottle of champagne using a team member ‚™s purse to store it in. He has been in several movies the most notable is Disturbia. Liza Lapira plays the part of Kianna. Her role in the team is to be a spotter as well. She has very little character development of all the M. I. T. student team. The majority of her acting experience has been on TV. She appeared as the character Heather in Cloverfield. Cole Williams is played by Laurence Fishburne.

His character is one of the pair of ‚Nseyes in the sky‚ that watches for familiar faces of card counters. He is nervous with the casinos adopting the software that will put his personal touch out of business. Laurence has been nominated and won several awards one of the most notable is the MTV 2000 Movie Award for The Matrix in the category of Best Fight. Jacob Pitts plays the part of Jimmy Fisher. His role in the team is playing black jack when the deck gets hot just like Ben??? ‚™s character. He has very little character development. Josh Gad plays the part of Miles.

His role is Ben ‚™s best friend since childhood and as a ‚Nsbrainy ‚N student determined to win the 209 competition. He has very little character development. Josh received a BFA in 2003 from the Carnegie Mellon University, School of Drama. He has appeared in the movies Mary and Joe, Razor Tooth and Watching the Detectives. The ShoWest Convention, USA gave a special award in 2008 for Best Ensemble to be shared by: Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, Aaron Yoo, Liza Lapira, Jacob Pitts and Josh Gad for the 2008 movie release of 21.

(IMDB, 2008) Direction The director of 21 is Robert Luketic. He has presently made three movies that have been released: Monster-in-Law (2005), Win a Date with Tad Hamilton (2004) which also starred Kate Bosworth and Legally Blonde (2001). Robert keeps this movie visually stimulating by using slow motion close-ups of the cards at just the right time when the stress is the highest on Ben. The camera is maneuvered around the tables to show the fast pace of the Black Jack tables. He has won two awards.

One from Aspen Shortsfest in 1998 he won the Jury Award under the category of Comedy-Best Student Comedy for Titsiana Booberini. His next award was the Young Hollywood Award in 2002 under the category of Class Act (Hottest Young Filmmaker). Technical I loved the photography for this film. There was a lot of time elapsed film that shows hours of training that Ben was put through with the team to get him up to speed on the high/low card counting system and the words they used to communicate what the count was on the deck.

I also loved the way the film began with what could have been special effects of the card table, cards, and chips shown very close up. The location for Las Vegas was impressive with the scenes of the Las Vegas Strip and the views from over head and in and around the tables. There are scenes where Ben sits down at a hot black jack table and then everyone around him speeds up and is a blur that effectively reflects the amount of time that goes by while he sits and gambles at a table. Music The music used in this movie is up beat and keeps the audience alert.

The timing of the music fits well into the scenes just as You Can ‚™t Always Get What You Want from the Rolling Stones is played when Ben finished his first interview for the Robinson Scholarship. Time to Pretend is played when the first set of fake identification are handed out in the hotel suite in Las Vegas. I find it interesting that the Doors  ‚NsBreak on through‚N? is used in the commercials but I never heard it in the movie and it is not in the credits. (Isidoros, 2008) Make-Up

In the beginning the characters did go all out to put on disguises that looked nothing like they normally do. There were however, some of the characters like Jimmy Fisher that never did do anything different to change his appearance. This was more than likely part of the script but it could have been so much more fun if they had gone all out. The best character disguise was Kevin Spacey ‚™s character appeared with glasses, beard and worn out cowboy hat. Impact on Me This movie worked for me because it is obvious that a talented mathematical mind could count cards.

It was upbeat and never let me get bored there was always something to look for, learn or figure out. There were lots of surprises that kept the movie fresh and I cannot pigeon hole this with any other movie I have seen. Fun movie and I have bought the book and looking forward to reading it in the near future. Memorable Scene I think the memorable scene for me with when Jill tells Ben the Hard Rock has comped her a room and ask him to join her. She looks out of the huge window onto the Las Vegas strip below with the water fountain displayed below.

This of course leads to a romantic night but while he stands there holding her they are two M. I. T. students that are leading a life they thought would have never lead them to that powerful scenery. Surprise My research prior to seeing the movie the second time found that Jeffrey Ma made an appearance in this movie as a card dealer at one of the tables. I found while watching the movie the second time that this is the only dealer the team calls by name. This occurs at the end of the movie where Ben and Micky join together for the first and last night of black jack.


IMDB, (2008). Kevin Spacey. Retrieved April 27, 2008, from http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000228/bio

Isidoros, (2008, April 18, 2008). Music Score. Retrieved April 20, 2008, from http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=6806293649&topic=4574

Mezrich, B. (2002). 21: Bringing Down the House. New York, NY: Free Press.

Movietickets.com (2008). 21. Retrieved April 20, 2008, from http://www.movietickets.com/movie_detail.asp?movie_id=58883

SonyPictures.com (2008). 21. Retrieved April 26, 2008, from


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