MISSISSIPPI GRIND ~ Rated PG-13

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“Want to know why?… I don’t care about winning.”  

“Where did you come from?”

From the writing and directing team who have previously brought us SUGAR and IT’s KIND OF A FUNNY STORYAnna Boden & Ryan Fleck ~ comes an extremely raw tale of addiction, immensely intertwined with “the luck of the draw” with their latest creation ~ MISSISSIPPI GRIND.

Trying to make a living as a real estate agent by day, and gambling fool by night Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is about at the end of his run. That is, until a chance encounter with the charming and charismatic fellow gambler Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) takes place, which apparently has brought “LADY LUCK” back into both of their lives…

Determined to hit THE BIG ONE, Gerry convinces Curtis to join him as they set out on a quest along the Mississippi, taking everything they can from the riverboat casinos, and dog tracks along the way.

When a stop off in St. Louis brings Curtis back into the arms of his own personal “lady of the night” named Simone (Sienna Miller), It seems that the boys may be staying over in this city a little longer than expected…

Growing restless, and ready to make more dough in order to pay off the many loan sharks he’s in hock too, including Sam (Alfre Woodard), Gerry convinces Curtis to join him as they head to New Orleans to finally HIT IT BIG…

Curtis fronts Gerry the $2000 to buy in on the high stakes game he wants to bet on, in hopes that if it hits, the can get both of their lives back on track…but, what seems to be “the right move” for Gerry, may not be what is best for Curtis when it is all said and done…

I give MISSSISSIPPI GRIND a rating of MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN ~ This film is by far Mendelsohn’s best work so far in his career, and as we have seen from Reynolds over the past couple years too…he is evolving into one fabulously versatile actor, and his performance in GRIND is no exception, as he is outstanding. You will find yourself moved way beyond what his sultry blue eyes and schoolboy charms bring to the screen normally. Going in too, I wasn’t sold on the premise of another gambling film after last year’s big miss with THE GAMBLER, but this film is high and above anything Wahlberg was hoping to portray. From the friendship that evolves between these two men, to the real-life struggles brought on by addiction portrayed in almost frame of this film, to the constantly evolving storyline – MISSISIPPI GRIND is a DEFINITE MUST SEE!!! You will find yourself not only engrossed in the performances throughout, but also by the exquisite cinematography that arrives effortlessly on screen at every juncture too. And having lived in the St. Louis area my whole life, I was totally enamored by the way this film portrays St. Louis and it’s many charms. Plus, one of St. Louis’s own made it into this film too…so don’t forget to watch for KTRS’s Paul Harris, as he did our city proud ~ going toe-to-toe with Mendelsohn in a particular scene, and even though he is a man of few words, he is a definite scene stealer in his small, but crucial role.

Kathy Kaiser