Mississippi Grind (2015)
Directed: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck
Featuring: Ben Mendelsohn, Ryan Reynolds, Yvonne Landry, Alfre Woodard, Sienna Miller
“Do you know how to get a sweet, little, old lady to yell “Go f— yourself?” Get another sweet, little, old lady to yell “Bingo!””
The past few years has seen the rise and rise of character actor Ben Mendelssohn, from someone who pops up as the Australian in many American films to the central actor in many character driven films and television shows. And “Mississippi Grind” is no exception with a meaty character, great dialogue and a couple of writer/directors who themselves are starting to make names for themselves in their own rights, particularly after 2006’s “Half Nelson.”
There have been many films about the gambling addiction and in fact, this is the second of 2015, after the highflying “The Gambler”, with Mark Wahlberg. “Mississippi Grind” though takes things in a more subversive and lower middle class way with the protagonists trying to meek out an existence that really cannot be maintained in any healthy way.
What we have are two men both haunted by their pasts and unsure of their futures, they have a happenstance meeting and like many people involved in a pastime that relies on unknown outcomes luck becomes a factor as does loss and the emotional contact made because of these things.
This is a stunning character piece and along with this years “Deadpool”, Ryan Reynolds finally gets a role that plays to his own character, but also allows him to truly act a part, and, take control which we have not seen in a number of years. Reynolds is that actor reaching for the A List but who perennially outdoes himself in smaller though flashier roles.
This film is highly recommended and if you stay with it you will be rewarded on all levels. In fact if anyone from this years Oscars can be slighted it could be Mendelsohn, who brings energy and pathos to a role that a lessor actor may have just gone through the motions with.
Out on DVD & Blu-ray now.