There is nothing new about the plot of Runner, Runner. Richie Furst is a brilliant student at Princeton who is paying for his tuition through online gambling. When he is cheated of his tuition money in a game, he decides to take on the owner of the site, Ivan Block, who operates from Costa Rica. Richie lands there and is bedazzled by Block’s glitzy lifestyle. Before he knows it, he is Block’s protégé and second in command. Richie desiring the boss’s woman, Rebecca, is also predictable. Like in all Hollywood morality tales, the higher you go, the harder you fall. Richie, however, doesn’t seem to be in too much trouble — no drug-fuelled paranoia or anyone coming after him with a chainsaw.

There are the feds wanting him to hand over Block, his father who is a compulsive gambler in Block’s evil clutches, some random Costa Rican thug and voracious crocodiles with a taste for poultry. The movie is short at 91 minutes and has half-way smart dialogues. “That little voice at the back of your head is not your conscience, it is fear,” was the best of the lot. The cast is nice and golden. Justin Timberlake could model for smart, fitted shirts as Richie, while Affleck is smooth and slick as Block. Gemma Arteton as Rebecca looks like the gold paint from Quantum of Solace hasn’t completely washed off.

If you look at the movie as a show-reel for Costa Rica, it works spectacularly and I know where my next holiday is going to be.

Genre: Thriller

Director: Brad Furman

Cast: Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arteton, Ben Affleck

Storyline: A bright youngster is seduced by the dark side

Bottomline: No masters of the game here