21 (2008)

Professor Micky Rosa (Kevin Spacey) trains and leads a team of six highly skilled MIT students in the lucrative art of blackjack card-counting, before he unleashes his proteges onto unsuspecting Las Vegas casinos one weekend. Yet with new face-recognition software slowly rolling out in the big casinos to put an end to their scam, it's a race against time before they miss a golden opportunity to pay off their tuition fees - or worse, get caught trying.

Our Rating: 7/10
Watchability: 7/10
Contributed By: JT
Tagline: Five students who changed the game forever.

Release Date: 2008-03-28
IMDb icon 6.8/10
  • Country: USA
  • Language: English
  • Runtime: 23
  • Budget: $35,000,000
  • Revenue: $81,159,365
  • Production: Trigger Street Productions

So, how does the movie end??

When Ben doesn't follow the rules and loses a large sum at one of the tables, Micky is less than impressed and tells him that he must be reimbursed $200,000, and they will all return to Boston early.

Ben gets the others together - he knows they don't need Micky. They do what they do best and stack their chips, but Micky has stayed behind and ratted them out. Cole (Laurence Fishburne) and his men walk up to Ben at the table, and he is taken away to a secret room - and beaten quite badly.

Ben returns to uni - to find that the Professor has failed him, so he won't graduate, and someone has stolen all his winnings from the dorm room. Desperate, he forms a plan -- he approaches Micky at one of his parties and proposes a deal --- they return to Vegas for one last score, before the last casino uses the new security system. They will work together to maximise their money. Micky agrees.

Ben and Micky, both disguised, are way up in chips ... before Cole and his men find them and give chase. Ben and Jill toss a bin-liner stuffed with the chips to Micky and they agree to meet at the usual place. They both run away in different directions. Micky gets into a limo and tells the driver to go to the airport instead. He opens the bag -- to find cheap chocolates. The driver opens the window - it's Cole's right hand man.

Meanwhile, Ben and Jill make it out the casino, but Cole is waiting for them. Cole thanks Ben for giving him Micky, and says his grades will be reinstated, but then pulls a gun and demands the chips as well. Ben and Jill have no choice but to throw the winnings over to him.

They return to the casino -- but as the security teams were distracted, Ben's MIT nerd buddies have taken the casino for a lot of money. There's a lot of smiling faces. So he still made money, dated the prettiest girl on campus, and has something to put on his CV.

As it ends, he finishes his story to the board member about 'life experienceNULL, and it seems pretty certain he'll earn his scholarship. Unless the next student in line was Mark Zuckerberg.


Our Comments:

The Monty Hall Problem

Ok, so this is the big talking point as mentioned in the movie! Basically, there was a TV gameshow hosted by a guy called Monty Hall, where at the end the contestant would have to choose their prize from behind one of three doors. Behind one door was the top prize (eg a car), and behind the other two were booby prizes (usually goats in the examples people talk about. Goats???? Really?)

So, the contestant picks their door.  Then, at 'random'**, Monty opens one of the two remaining doors ... to reveal a goat. (**At random if the contestant had picked the car, if they had not, then just the door with the goat would be revealed)

Now, the contestant has a choice - to stick with their door (still unopened), or swap for the one remaining unopened door.  Of course, because of pride (or thoughts of an assumed lucky streak etc), the contestant would 9 times out of 10 stick with what they have.

The maths 'theory' goes, that the contestant just has a 1 in 3 chance of winning the car, that remains the same if they stick with their chosen door.

BUT, if they swap, they have a 66.6 chance of success!  The odds massively increase if there are more than 3 doors too.

Sounds crazy?  Why not 50/50?  Well anyway, that's the debate.  It makes complete sense one minute, and then seems crazy and a 'did you know that Marilyn Manson was in the Wonder Years' type lie / urban legend the next.  Apparently humans are slow to take it in, and even pigeons work it out that they have better odds to swap after a little while.

So, in other words, sometimes I'm not as clever as a pigeon.

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