6.8/10
216,350
302 user 151 critic

21 (2008)

PG-13 | | Crime, Drama, History | 28 March 2008 (USA)
Trailer
2:33 | Trailer
"21" is the fact-based story about six MIT students who were trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings.

Director:

Robert Luketic

Writers:

Peter Steinfeld (screenplay), Allan Loeb (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Popularity
2,755 ( 247)
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Disturbia (2007)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A teen living under house arrest becomes convinced his neighbor is a serial killer.

Director: D.J. Caruso
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, David Morse, Carrie-Anne Moss
Eagle Eye (2008)
Action | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Jerry and Rachel are two strangers thrown together by a mysterious phone call from a woman they have never met. Threatening their lives and family, she pushes Jerry and Rachel into a series of increasingly dangerous situations, using the technology of everyday life to track and control their every move.

Director: D.J. Caruso
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Michelle Monaghan, Rosario Dawson
Vantage Point (2008)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The attempted assassination of the American President is told and re-told from several different perspectives.

Director: Pete Travis
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Forest Whitaker, Matthew Fox
Now You See Me I (2013)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An F.B.I. Agent and an Interpol Detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances, and reward their audiences with the money.

Director: Louis Leterrier
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Common, Mark Ruffalo
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The Four Horsemen resurface, and are forcibly recruited by a tech genius to pull off their most impossible heist yet.

Director: Jon M. Chu
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson
Limitless I (2011)
Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

With the help of a mysterious pill that enables the user to access one hundred percent of his brain abilities, a struggling writer becomes a financial wizard, but it also puts him in a new world with lots of dangers.

Director: Neil Burger
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Anna Friel, Abbie Cornish
Phone Booth (2002)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Publicist Stuart Shepard finds himself trapped in a phone booth, pinned down by an extortionist's sniper rifle. Unable to leave or receive outside help, Stuart's negotiation with the caller leads to a jaw-dropping climax.

Director: Joel Schumacher
Stars: Colin Farrell, Kiefer Sutherland, Forest Whitaker
Flightplan (2005)
Action | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A bereaved woman and her daughter are flying home from Berlin to America. At 30,000 feet, the child vanishes, and nobody will admit she was ever on the plane.

Director: Robert Schwentke
Stars: Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Sean Bean
In Time (2011)
Action | Sci-Fi | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth. Here, Will Salas finds himself accused of murder and on the run with a hostage - a connection that becomes an important part of the way against the system.

Director: Andrew Niccol
Stars: Justin Timberlake, Amanda Seyfried, Cillian Murphy
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Danny Ocean and his eleven accomplices plan to rob three Las Vegas casinos simultaneously.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring.

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Stars: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Danny Ocean rounds up the boys for a third heist, after casino owner Willy Bank double-crosses one of the original eleven, Reuben Tishkoff.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Sturgess ... Ben
Kevin Spacey ... Micky Rosa
Kate Bosworth ... Jill
Aaron Yoo ... Choi
Liza Lapira ... Kianna
Jacob Pitts ... Fisher
Laurence Fishburne ... Cole Williams
Jack McGee ... Terry
Josh Gad ... Miles
Sam Golzari ... Cam
Helen Carey ... Ellen Campbell
Jack Gilpin ... Bob Phillips
Donna Lows Donna Lows ... Planet Hollywood Dealer
Butch Williams Butch Williams ... Planet Hollywood Dealer
Ben Campbell Ben Campbell ... Planet Hollywood Dealer Jeff (as Jeffrey Ma)
Edit

Storyline

Ben Campbell is a young, highly intelligent, student at M.I.T. in Boston who strives to succeed. Wanting a scholarship to transfer to Harvard School of Medicine with the desire to become a doctor, Ben learns that he cannot afford the $300,000 for the four to five years of schooling as he comes from a poor, working-class background. But one evening, Ben is introduced by his unorthodox math professor Micky Rosa into a small but secretive club of five. Students Jill, Choi, Kianna, and Fisher, who are being trained by Professor Rosa of the skill of card counting at blackjack. Intrigued by the desire to make money, Ben joins his new friends on secret weekend trips to Las Vegas where, using their skills of code talk and hand signals, they have Ben make hundreds of thousands of dollars in winning blackjack at casino after casino. Ben only wants to make enough money for the tuition to Harvard and then back out. But as fellow card counter, Jill Taylor, predicts, Ben becomes corrupted by greed ... Written by matt-282

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Inspired by the true story of five students who changed the game forever. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some violence, and sexual content including partial nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 March 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

21 - The Movie See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$24,105,943, 30 March 2008

Gross USA:

$81,159,365

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$157,927,340
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Gustaf Skarsgård: Long-haired man working for Cole Williams. He can be seen chasing Ben in the final run out of the casino. See more »

Goofs

The outside shot of Ben's dorm building is the Towers dorm for Boston University. Ben would not be living there as an MIT student. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ben Campbell: [narrating] 'Winner, winner, chicken dinner.' Those words had been dancing around my head all night. I mean, it's Vegas lore, that phrase. Just ask any of the old-time pit bosses, they'll know. It was a Chinese dealer at Binion's who was first credited with the line. He would shout it every time he dealt blackjack. That was over 40 years ago, and the words still catch. 'Winner, winner, chicken dinner.' Yeah, try it. I had heard it at least 14 times that night. I couldn't lose. First...
[...]
See more »

Connections

References Taxi Driver (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Concerto for Two Violins in D minor, BWV 1043
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Just as predictable yet enjoyable as the game depicted
2 April 2008 | by pyrocitorSee all my reviews

Considering the risky pleasure generally associated with gambling and the seductive thrill of watching a heist or scam unfold, it should come as no surprise that 21, a film which combines the two aforementioned premises should excel at being enjoyable. And while the film may be very familiar ground to anyone with in any experience with Ocean's Eleven style crime capers, and the majority of the film's plot points verge on being almost laughably predictable, it is executed with enough exuberant flair to make it worthwhile in the midst of its formula.

A slow start gives the necessary exposition as to how a thoroughly ethical young MIT student (Sturgess)'s desperate need for money to attend Harvard medical school leads him to join a team of mathematical geniuses trained in blackjack card counting who routinely rip off Las Vegas casinos during weekends between class. However, this opening proves overlong, overly predictable, and largely unnecessary, dragging far too much before plunging into the film's real fun as Sturgess and his team are engulfed by the seductive glamour of Vegas and the thrill of the huge monetary takes. Some judicious editing, clearing away such unnecessary subplots (such as a robotics competition with Sturgess' tiresomely stereotypical nerdy friends) could have resulted in a far more streamlined and faster paced film.

Some viewers may take offence to the "Hollywoodizing" of the MIT team, with team members of different ethnicity largely shoved to the background in favour of the typically gorgeous Caucasian leads, a disconcertingly common practice in modern day cinema. However, the flashy MTV style cinematography and editing ably capture the engrossing spectacle of Vegas, and once the film gets going, it would be difficult to deny the sheer enjoyment of being swept up in the heady rush of quick wealth and all of its hedonistic trappings.

The film's quality cast add credulity to the frequently underwritten characters they portray. Jim Sturgess once again impresses as the ethical math prodigy slowly corrupted by a world of superficial glamour, his endearing charm putting an intriguing enough take on the "troubled but well meaning hero" archetype. As one might expect, Kevin Spacey effortlessly steals the show as the charismatic but ruthless professor managing the MIT card counting team, and Spacey's easygoing yet commanding presence is a profound boost to the film. Kate Bosworth contributes a typically flat performance, but given her token 'inevitable love interest' role, she fails to detract much from the film's overall quality. Lawrence Fishburne adds class, much needed dramatic weight and moments of grim humour to his antagonistic burly head of casino security, gradually catching on to the MIT team's scamming.

While the age old adage of 'style over substance' certainly holds true here, 21 may essentially epitomize the modern Hollywood crime caper film, but the formula hasn't quite run dry enough to overly detract from the enjoyment factor. The film's snappy visuals and strong casting are mostly enough to make up for a largely uninspired and frequently weak script. However, fans of similar works will not be disappointed, and for those willing to forgive the film's frequent delving into the wells of convention and accept entertainment over profundity, 21 should prove an ideal watch.

-7/10


62 of 96 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 302 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed