Directed and written by filmmaking duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, Mississippi Grind is a 2015 drama film about two traveling gamblers from different generations who travel through the South trying to win big.
Down on his luck and deep in debt, gambling addict Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) meets traveling hustler Curtis Vaughn (Ryan Reynolds). The men hit it off and Gerry convinces Curtis to take on a trip to a poker game in New Orleans with a $25,000 buy-in. As they hit the road, Curtis regales Gerry with tales of danger, intrigue, and meeting a man who owned a pet tiger. Gerry loses all of their money at a private game, but conceals this from Gerry, trying to steal it from his ex-wife Dorothy (Robin Weigert). When it comes to light, Curtis gives Gerry one more shot at winning it back.
My main complaint with this movie is that its pace is a little slow, even for a drama. However, I have to praise Mendelsohn and Reynolds’ performances. Both of them have really good chemistry as they travel throughout the South looking for another poker game. I did enjoy the fact that a movie that takes place in the South did not paint caricatures of Southern people, but focused on developing its story.
I also appreciated the themes of consequences. Curtis is a young man who has never truly lost anything and by his own admission, “doesn’t care if he loses.” Gerry is an older man whose lifestyle has caught up with him, though he longs to be like Curtis. When the movie reaches the climax, it highlights when to walk away from a game where you only get one chance to win.
Bottom line, Boden and Fleck tell a slow-moving, but engaging story about learning to live with the consequences of your actions and learning to accept the outcomes of the decisions you make.
FAVORITE QUOTE: A man alone is a half a man.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Mild violence, minor sexuality, foul language, gambling
Check out the movie trailer below:
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This article has been updated from a previous version.