RUNNER RUNNER, on the surface, is a film dealing with a person who uses online gambling as a method to pay for his college tuition. As things ramp up & Costa Rican based ponzi schemes quickly take over & it becomes a survival thriller of a person who gets caught up in computer fraud on an international level–a well acted cyber crime thriller that kept my attention throughout.
After some reflection, (and this may be unintended by the directors & script writers) it seems this film has something deeper to say about American culture. One: The price we are all paying (and the irony is not lost on my head that I am POTP on this issue “real time” as I write these comments) a huge price for the convenience of all things Internet. Two: Who can afford to attend an institution of higher education these days?
The American educational system is such that all kinds of opportunities open up for “Ivy League” graduates, and the rest are lucky to find a job doing the fries at a fast food place. Diplomas from many public high schools are nothing more than attendance certificates. Many recipients exit secondary school with no skills & cannot complete the application process to attend college & are not equipped with enough or appropriate education to do the basic course work required for a degree programme.
Another issue not directly articulated is the concept of being locked in to a situation of indentured servitude. As such, the character portrayed by Justin Timberlake (Richie Furst) is cornered, in part by his own fear, into a master-slave relationship with a totally corrupt master. The concept of mentoring or sponsorship has been trashed in the theme of this film & seems to be less & less how things are being done. I suspect that there is an iceberg waiting to be struck, as part of the unwritten & untold story behind the story going on here in our back yard. Jobs/employment rule, and freedom of choice to do things ethically, are becoming lost, as “Metrics” take over at the expense of one’s moral & spiritual core.
Curious, and maybe part of a Master Plan, that Justin Timberlake, has been well cast in a second film dealing with what goes one behind-the-keystrokes of Internet programming & the fundamental compromises that cost emotionally in terms of friendships lost & the emptiness of trust betrayed.
RUNNER RUNNER: ABOUT MORE THAN CYBER CRIME & THE HIGH LIFE