Mississippi Grind Blu-ray Review
I legitimately went to IMDB and perused through Ryan Reynolds filmography to see if there was a movie that I could pinpoint, as his finest acting achievement. I learned that I haven’t seen a lot of his movies and that the ones I have seen, he’s always the goofy, cocky guy that learns a lesson about life. MISSISSIPPI GRIND is an acting performance that Reynolds can forever hang his hat on. That unmistakable strut of arrogance is on display, but it’s toned down to a more mature level. He’s matched equally by Ben Mendelsohn’s performance. It’s unfortunate this movie couldn’t match both their talents.
MISSISSIPPI GRIND is an interesting tale about gambling addiction, disguised as a road trip movie. It seems to condemn the addiction it highlights, but at the same time MISSISSIPPI GRIND champions the addiction as a fun “throw caution to the wind” lifestyle. When we first meet Gerry (Mendelsohn), his life is in ruins because of his addiction. His compulsive gambling has evolved into him becoming a chronic liar and a serial abuser of other people’s kindness.
In a smoky poker room, Gerry comes across the sociable Curtis (Reynolds). They hit it off immediately over their mutual love for cards and poker chips. After much discussion, and a few drinks, both decide to head down south to New Orleans to take part in a high-stakes poker game. Gerry is hoping to turn his luck around while Curtis appears to admire the aged gambler. Curtis merely seems interested so that he can learn more about his own path in life by picking up on what went wrong in Gerry’s.
The ensuing road trip is equal parts interesting and equal parts meandering. It reminds me a bit of SIDEWAYS, but like SIDEWAYS, I thought the story just didn’t match the spot-on acting. Mendelsohn portrays Gerry to a ‘T’ as we see just how far and low Gerry goes to win the smallest amount of money. Reynolds, who begins the movie curious and talkative, slowly becomes moody and reflective. The overall transformation of these characters is interesting enough, but sometimes their in-car conversations feel like eavesdropping on two people on a plane out of boredom.
When they’re not rolling the dice or rubbing their playing cards for good luck, the two find themselves dishing on life and love at seedy bars and downtrodden hotel rooms. The movie could have been an interesting character study if Gerry had more depth to him, other than his addiction. By the end we don’t really feel like we’ve learned too much about a man who’s looking for his next betting fix.
If you’re looking for growth or some kind of resolution to these two men’s lives, you’re out of luck. A certain amount of dread permeates as the road trip continues and by the end, it doesn’t really feel like any lessons were learned. But maybe that’s the point of MISSISSIPPI GRIND, that addiction sometimes is what makes a person. The performances in MISSISSIPPI GRIND are sure a bet, but if you’re looking to hedge your bets on the story, that could be a losing proposition.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) Everything, down to the individual cards and the lights on the slot machines, come through clear on this Blu-ray.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The sounds of the casino, the eerie silence filling the country side, reverberate wonderfully on this Blu-ray.
Two of a Kind: On the Road with MISSISSIPPI GRIND (17:28): An over encompassing behind the scenes feature that looks at the creation of the movie and provides thorough interviews with the cast and crew.