’21,’ the movie

By Debbie Yara Acebu
University of the Philippines
Cebu College

IF there is one thing about Hollywood movies that I like best, it’s the label “inspired-by-a-true-story” on films and I found it on this movie called 21. It is more interesting to watch movies with these labels compared to a mainstream-fictional film or “based-on-a-true-story” motion picture because I have observed that this kind of movies are not sensationalized the way the latter movies are created. Watch the moview | HERE! |
21, a 2008 drama film under Columbia Pictures, is an inspirational and exciting movie which could heighten up a teenager’s interest in gambling—and not just an ordinary form of betting money—but risking the possibilities in chasing their dreams in any way they can.

In the movie, filmed by Robert Luketic (“Legally Blonde”, “Monster In-law”), it tells a story about a group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students who work with a professor to perfect a scheme of card counting for blackjack. The kids travel to Vegas on Friday evenings and returns clean and good on Monday mornings with business class air trips.

An aspiring medical student at Harvard Med, Ben Campbell (Jim Sturgess) just wanted a $300,000 worth of money for his tuition but the question is—how?

Math professor Mickey Rosa (Kevin Spacey) who mentors young kids to profit some weekend side track to Las Vegas recruited Ben to join a team of extremely gifted students who have used their mastery of numbers to beat the chances at blackjack. Ben slowly destroys his character and changes his path into something he hasn’t dreamed of.

Mickey says counting cards isn’t illegal; it’s just using a complex series of signals in order to crack the code. It doesn’t take long for Ben to become seduced by the glamorous Las Vegas lifestyle, and the attention afforded to him by his sexy teammate Jill Taylor (Kate Bosworth) who finds him pushing his luck to the absolute limits.

Unfortunately, a secret service crew catches the group and exposes the team’s money-making blackjack scam.

This makes it more interesting for me when I found out that a group of young people are involved especially highlighting the efforts of this smart, twenty-one-year-old Ben Campbell who is in the brink of a “make-or-break” momentum in his life.

21, which refers to both the game and the milestone of these college students reaching that age, as they approach graduation and either embrace maturity or wreck their lives, breezes along as if knowledge of this con blackjack game were a given.


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