The owner of the site is one Ivan Block (Ben Affleck), who is in exile and likes to quote Napoleon's desires for human contact (I'm putting this as delicately as possible) while on Elba. Block keeps himself well protected by a coterie of henchmen and (in yet another improbability) a rather glamorous female named Rebecca (Gemma Arterton). Richie manages to weasel his way into a private party being held by Block, one of those hilariously over the top soirees that only ever show up in films like this, one replete with carnival rides and insanely glamorous people drinking cocktails and engaging in supposedly scintillating banter. Richie has come prepared, though, thrusting some blacklit papers at a security camera which informs some unseen power that Richie has proof of cheating on Block's site. Richie is briefly ushered into Ivan's inner circle, where he tells Ivan he could have gone to the police or (even worse) bloggers, and while Ivan expresses some curt appreciation, he has his henchmen show Richie the way out.
The next day, however, Richie is escorted (again by those nefarious henchmen) to Ivan's private yacht, which is nicknamed The House (because, as Ivan states it, The House always wins). Ivan is a bit more receptive to Richie this time out, and not only returns the kid's money, but gives him enough to finish Princeton. He also makes Richie an offer he can't refuse. That finally sets the film on what turns out to be its main course, which involves Richie becoming the pawn of both Ivan (who turns out not to be such a nice guy, after all) and a scheming FBI Agent named Shavers (Anthony Mackie), who wants to bring Ivan to justice but hasn't been able to line up the dominoes to do that thus far. The bulk of the film deals in a kind of "who's playing whom" approach that brings to mind another lackluster would-be thriller, the recent Paranoia.
Runner Runner is such an overheated potboiler that it would be funny if the actors weren't so deadly serious about it all. The film is undeniably scenic (albeit in a sometimes unseemly way, as the teeming hordes of poor people in Costa Rica are shown in passing), but it's all so patently silly that it delivers neither thrills nor suspense. Timberlake is probably better than many would assume he might be, which doesn't necessarily translate into him actually being good. Affleck is similarly fine, if uninspired, and Arterton of course offers a dose of scenery that only a curmudgeon would describe as unseemly. The screenplay here is just downright ludicrous, and director Brad Furman (who fared much better with The Lincoln Lawyer ) simply doesn't know how to ameliorate the damage.
Runner Runner is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.40:1. This high definition presentation is often quite beautiful looking, with somewhat pushed contrast and deeply saturated colors which are often skewed toward an orange amber side of things. Fine detail is very good if not overwhelming throughout the presentation. Runner Runner features a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix which tends to be a bit more front heavy than many films of this general ilk. While there's some attention to ambient environmental sounds, the bulk of the surround activity here tends to be with regard to Christophe Meck's score and the occasional source cue. Dialogue is always cleanly and clearly presented, and the track boasts excellent fidelity and above average dynamic range.
- Deleted Scenes
- House of Cards - The Inside Story of Online Poker: a rather interesting piece detailing the history of this phenomenon. This would have been more effective with more time spent with actual players than with the cast spouting off (not to mention clips from the film), but it's an above average set of featurettes.
- Theatrical Trailer