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Mississippi Grind (2015)


Caduto in disgrazie e costretto a fronteggiare le difficoltà economiche, Gerry fa squadra con un carismatico giocatore di poker di nome Curtis nel tentativo di cambiare il suo destino. Insieme, i due partono per un viaggio attraverso il sud degli Stati Uniti con la speranza di riavere…

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Mississippi Grind — film review: ‘The performances sing’

Ben Mendelsohn and Ryan Reynolds in ‘Mississippi Grind’

In Mississippi Grind, gambling addict Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is asked if he spells his name with a J. No, he says, a G: “Like Ford.” A reference like that won’t lure the young audience, but it does act as a pointer to the film’s spirit guide: the grainy downbeat American cinema of the 1970s. The setting actually seems to be 2015, but 2015 in the kind of Iowa nowheresville in which little has changed since Nixon was bundled off to leave his deputy as president. And here, in a drab casino, Gerry is at the poker table.

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Enter Curtis (Ryan Reynolds), a mysterious blast of charm wandered out of the night. Collar turned up, he jokes and storytells, gleaming among the sad small-town faces. He buys Gerry a bourbon: a Woodford, the good stuff, the start of a curious friendship. Later, the pair find a bar. “Who do you owe?” Curtis asks, and Gerry glances around the place. “Everyone,” he replies.

We think we have the measure of Curtis when he whispers that just $25,000 can get Gerry into the mythical big game; but the movie plays its hand with wit and elegance, upending expectations. If the cynicism of its inspirations — Robert Altman and John Huston’s Fat City — proves tougher to match than their scuffed, sloppy ambience, the performances sing. Reynolds’ status as the actor you call when Ryan Gosling says No actually suits the mood; Mendelsohn is terrific, delivering Gerry’s endless excuses on the back of a sad, self-loathing sigh.

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