21 (2008)

21 2008tt0478087.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: 21 (2008)
  • Rate: 6.7/10 total 93,841 votes 
  • Genre: Crime | Drama
  • Release Date: 28 March 2008 (USA)
  • Runtime: 123 min
  • Filming Location: Back Bay, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  • Budget: $35,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $81,159,365(USA)(18 May 2008)
  • Director: Robert Luketic
  • Stars: Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey
  • Original Music By: David Sardy   
  • Soundtrack: Again with the Subtitles
  • Sound Mix: DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS
  • Plot Keyword: Harvard | Student | Casino | Professor | Card Counting

Writing Credits By:

  • Peter Steinfeld (screenplay) and
  • Allan Loeb (screenplay)
  • Ben Mezrich (book "Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions")

Known Trivia

  • The movie was used as a luxury prize for the contestants on the Big Brother 9 in the US. They played a competition involving blackjack, and the winners got to see a special advance screening of the movie. One contestant won a trip to Las Vegas worth $21,000, which included a three night stay at the same hotel the actors from the movie stayed in.
  • Boston University students were used as extras in many of the classroom scenes.
  • The “2.0.9” robotics competition shown in the movie is based on the actual “6.270” programming competition at M.I.T.
  • The small statue of a reclining nude, seen on the desk of the Harvard med Professor Bob Phillips during Ben’s Robinson Scholarship interview, is by Venezuelan-born sculptor Maria Gamundi.
  • The problem Prof. Rosa mentions in class with the three doors is known as the Monty Hall problem.
  • The printed source code for the robot is from NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey GPS Toolbox.
  • The main characters upon which the film 21 is based were Asian. Controversially, mostly Caucasian actors were cast. Jim Sturgess required a dialect coach to speak with an American accent.
  • The sunglasses worn by Laurence Fishburne throughout the movie and at the end by the pool are Randolph Engineering Aviators.

Goofs: Continuity: When Mickey and Ben are walking through the park before the first trip, there is no one behind them. The camera changes and there is a woman walking her dog and another man.

Plot: "21" is the fact-based story about six MIT students who were trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings. Full summary »  »

Story: Ben Campbell is a young, highly intelligent, student at M.I.T. in Boston who strives to succeed. Wanting a scholarship to transfer to Harvard School of Medicine with the desire to become a doctor, Ben learns that he cannot afford the $300,000 for the four to five years of schooling as he comes from a poor, working-class background. But one evening, Ben is introduced by his unorthodox math professor Micky Rosa into a small but secretive club of five. Students Jill, Choi, Kianna, and Fisher, who are being trained by Professor Rosa of the skill of card counting at blackjack. Intrigued by the desire to make money, Ben joins his new friends on secret weekend trips to Las Vegas where, using their skills of code talk and hand signals, they have Ben make hundreds of thousands of dollars in winning blackjack at casino after casino. Ben only wants to make enough money for the tuition to Harvard and then back out…Written by matt-282  

{tab=Synopsis}

Synopsis: MIT student Ben Campbell, played by English actor Jim Sturgess, is accepted into Harvard Medical School, but he cannot afford the $300,000 tuition. He is interviewed as a potential candidate for the prestigious Robinson Scholarship, which will pay for all his school-related expenses. Despite boasting stats such as a 1590 SAT score, 44 MCAT score, and a 4.0 GPA at MIT, Campbell is told that competition for the scholarship is fierce. Ben is urged to write an essay that will make him stand out, an essay that will dazzle the recruiter and make Campbell’s personality and abilities jump off the page.

During an advanced math class, Prof. Micky Rosa, played by Kevin Spacey, challenges Campbell with the Monty Hall problem, which Campbell solves successfully. Prof. Rosa invites Campbell to join his blackjack team led by Rosa, which consists of young men Choi and Fisher, and women Jill Taylor, played by Kate Bosworth, and Kianna. The system involves card counting, and the team is split into two groups: The "spotters", who play the minimum bet, keeping track of the count, and sending secret signals; and the "big players", who place large bets whenever the count at a table is favorable. Campbell is reluctant to join at first, but eventually relents, with the caveat that he will stay on the team only long enough to pay for his tuition. After weeks of intensive training, Campbell is given a final live test at an underground casino. He passes the test and is assigned to be a big player.

Prof. Rosa (sometimes referred to as "Micky") takes the team to Las Vegas where Campbell begins to realize the joys of a new lifestyle. Campbell’s performance impresses Rosa, but eventually provokes jealousy in teammate Fisher. One evening, a drunken Fisher sits at Ben’s table and starts talking about the "retard" in Rain Man, who won by counting cards. He then incites a melee when he spills a drink on another player at the table. Mr. Rosa kicks Fisher off the team and sends him home. All the while, security chief Cole Williams, played by Laurence Fishburne has been monitoring the blackjack team, especially Campbell. Campbell, meanwhile, falls for Jill, culminating in the pair sleeping together in Las Vegas.

Back at MIT, Campbell, because he is distracted by the blackjack, botches his part of a university project with his friends for the 2.0.9 competition. His friends angrily tell him that they will do the project themselves, with Campbell feeling that the project is not important anymore. On his next trip to Las Vegas, Campbell is emotionally distracted and continues playing even after he is signaled to walk away. An angry Micky Rosa storms out on the group, promising that Campbell will reimburse him for the $200,000 loss. Campbell and his three remaining teammates bankroll the rest of their money and agree to go into business for themselves. Micky, believed to have gone back to Boston, instead stays and rats out the M.I.T. team to casino security Cole Williams, who finds and apprehends Campbell and takes him to a secluded basement, where he beats him. Coleman releases Campbell with a threat and a dire warning.

Campbell returns to MIT only to find a letter telling him that he received an incomplete for one of his classes and therefore won’t graduate. At the same time, he discovers that his winnings have been stolen from his dorm room. Campbell suspects that Micky Rosa is behind everything, but cannot prove it, so he makes Rosa an offer: Campbell and the team will hit Las Vegas for one final big score before the casino installs biometric software, as long as Rosa joins the team. Mr. Rosa agrees.

Dressed up in disguise, the team returns to Planet Hollywood’s Vegas casino. They rake in over $640,000 before security chief Williams, along with a security team, finds them and gives chase. The team members quickly bag their chips and then flee through the casino. Ben has the bag of chips which he reluctantly gives over to Mickey as they decide to split up and meet later at the Foxx Strip Club. As the rest of the team is still being chased inside the casino, Mickey dives into a waiting limo and yells "airport" to the driver. It is obvious Mickey has no plans on going to the Foxx Strip Club. As he smiles with glee and dives into the bag of chips, he discovers the chips are actually hotel chocolates that are shaped just like casino chips. This is in part a reference to an earlier scene in the movie during which Choi shows his tendency to steal things by compulsively stealing a large number of hotel chocolates (the fake chips) from an unattended maid cart.

As the movie backtracks, we learn that Campbell and the rest of the team the whole time had a plan not only to make themselves a great deal of money but also to deliver Micky Rosa to Cole Williams. Early in the chase in the casino, Campbell and Jill get separated from Micky briefly, during which time Jill hands Ben the bag of chocolates as he hands her the bag of real casino chips, which she puts in her pocketbook. We also learn that security chief Cole Williams and Prof. Micky Rosa actually have a long history of playing cat and mouse in Las Vegas together. One night, while Cole was at his father’s funeral, his casino got taken for seven figures. This event led to the firing of Cole and thus the grudge he holds against Micky.

It is revealed that Williams made a deal with Campbell: Williams would let Campbell come to Las Vegas for one last night to make a lot of money in exchange for Rosa. However, Williams, gun in hand, confronts Campbell on his way out and demands the bag of chips. Back in the casino, Williams informs Rosa that he also has a friend who is "good with numbers, but he works for the IRS."

The movie is told in the narrative voice-over POV of Ben Campbell. When Jill and Ben return to the casino, they not only meet the rest of the team, they also meet his two best friends from Boston with whom he had entered the 2.0.9. competition. Campbell says of them, "they were pretty good at basic math too." Campbell’s summation is that getting his friends back, having really good life experiences, and hooking up with "the prettiest girl in school," were all worth much much more than all the money they had made counting cards. The movie closes with Campbell recounting the tale to the scholarship administrator, who looks back at him, "dazzled".

{tab=FullCast & Crew}

Produced By:

  • William S. Beasley known as executive producer
  • Dana Brunetti known as producer
  • Michael De Luca known as producer
  • Ryan Kavanaugh known as executive producer
  • Brett Ratner known as executive producer
  • Kevin Spacey known as producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Jim Sturgess known as Ben
  • Kevin Spacey known as Micky Rosa
  • Kate Bosworth known as Jill
  • Aaron Yoo known as Choi
  • Liza Lapira known as Kianna
  • Jacob Pitts known as Fisher
  • Laurence Fishburne known as Cole Williams
  • Jack McGee known as Terry
  • Josh Gad known as Miles
  • Sam Golzari known as Cam
  • Helen Carey known as Ellen Campbell
  • Jack Gilpin known as Bob Phillips
  • Donna Lows known as Planet Hollywood Dealer
  • Butch Williams known as Planet Hollywood Dealer
  • Ben Campbell known as Planet Hollywood Dealer Jeff (as Jeffrey Ma)
  • Frank Patton known as Planet Hollywood Floor Manager
  • Steven Richard Vezina known as Red Rock Dealer
  • Chaska T. Werner known as Red Rock Dealer
  • Kyle Morris known as Red Rock Dealer (as Kyle D. Morris)
  • Ernell Manabat known as Red Rock Doorman
  • Frank DeAngelo known as Red Rock Host (as Frankie De Angelo)
  • Marcus Weiss known as Red Rock Valet
  • Anthony DiMaria known as Hard Rock Doorman
  • Christopher Michael Holley known as Philosophical Gambler (as Christopher Holley)
  • Scott Beringer known as Big Shot
  • Terasa Livingstone known as Russian's Girlfriend
  • Jeffrey J. Dashnaw known as Russian Mafioso (as Jeff Dashnaw)
  • Colin Angle known as Professor Hanes
  • Supriya Chakrabarti known as Professor
  • Bradley Thoennes known as Warren
  • Kieu Chinh known as Chinese Woman (as Kieu-Chinh)
  • Alice Lo known as Chinese Woman
  • Sally Livingstone known as Chemistry Review Girl
  • Henry Houh known as Chinatown Dealer
  • Frank Chen known as Chinatown Host
  • Spencer Garrett known as Stemple
  • Celeste Oliva known as Airport Screener
  • Tom McGowan known as Husband
  • Ruby Hondros known as Wife
  • Christian Mello known as Drunk Dude
  • Gregory Seymore known as Drunk Dude (as Greg Seymore)
  • Shaun Aponik known as Harvard Medical Student (uncredited)
  • Finise Avery known as Student (uncredited)
  • Ellen Becker-Gray known as Mother at Robotics Competition (uncredited)
  • Fethi Bendida known as Student (uncredited)
  • Michael Bennett known as Red Rock Security Team (uncredited)
  • Chad Boldini known as Student (uncredited)
  • Eric Bruno Borgman known as Strip Club Patron (uncredited)
  • Patrick Canty known as Robotics Guest (uncredited)
  • Fritz Ceriales known as MIT Student (uncredited)
  • Chemi Che-Mponda known as Hotel Maid (uncredited)
  • Sean Collins known as MR Tillman Shopper (uncredited)
  • Desiree April Connolly known as Patron at Doyle's Bar (uncredited)
  • Jeffrey Corazzini known as Nightclub Patron (uncredited)
  • Michael Coryer known as Gambler (uncredited)
  • Katie Curley known as Audience Member Robotics Competition (uncredited)
  • Julia Dagovich known as High-Roller (uncredited)
  • Ramses Del Hierro Ericstam known as Cole Thug (uncredited)
  • Will Dragan known as Bar Patron (uncredited)
  • Benjamin Fisher known as Basketball Player (uncredited)
  • Steve Flynn known as Gambler (uncredited)
  • Victor Franko known as Student (uncredited)
  • Tom Gilligan known as Gucci Salesman (uncredited)
  • Trudi Goodman known as Airport Traveler (uncredited)
  • Harley Harrison known as MIT Student (uncredited)
  • Ty Izquierdo known as Casino Patron (uncredited)
  • Seba Johnson known as Airport Attendant (uncredited)
  • Christopher Jude known as Blackjack Dealer (uncredited)
  • Lyralen Kaye known as College Mom (uncredited)
  • Crystal Lisbon known as Student (uncredited)
  • Rebecca Marshall known as Hot Girl (uncredited)
  • Robert Masiello known as Pedestrian (uncredited)
  • Alexandra McDougall known as Student (uncredited)
  • Josh Mervis known as MIT Student (uncredited)
  • Ron Murphy known as Maintenance Man (uncredited)
  • Chris Palermo known as Strip Club Patron (uncredited)
  • Giovanni Pantaleo known as Robotics Guest (uncredited)
  • Bob Pepper known as Craps Dealer (uncredited)
  • Americo Presciutti known as Croupier (uncredited)
  • Eric Rollins known as M.I.T. Student (uncredited)
  • Ben Samuels known as Student (uncredited)
  • Rocky Self known as Valet (uncredited)
  • Jessi Shuttleworth known as Friend (uncredited)
  • Billy Silvia known as Casino Security Team (uncredited)
  • Joe Sobalo Jr. known as MIT Alumni Party Bartender (uncredited)
  • John Wayland Somers known as Bar Patron (uncredited)
  • Stream known as Featured Vegas Stripper / Parent at Harvard (uncredited)
  • David Struffolino known as Pedestrian (uncredited)
  • A.J. Sullivan known as Riviera Security Guard (uncredited)
  • Christopher Tranchina known as Flight Attendent (uncredited)
  • Amanda Warnock known as Subway Girl (uncredited)
  • Donald Warnock known as MIT Alum (uncredited)
  • Mike Wendt known as Ch. 6 Reporter (uncredited)
  • Kris Williams known as Friend of Jill (uncredited)
  • Henry Fleming Wood known as Planet Hollywood Dealer #3 (uncredited)

..{tab=Supporting Department}Makeup Department:

  • Marleen Alter known as makeup artist
  • Kelly Belmont known as assistant makeup artist
  • Gloria Pasqua Casny known as department head hair: Las Vegas (as Gloria P. Casny)
  • Elizabeth Cecchini known as key hair stylist (as Liz Cecchini)
  • Zoe Hay known as key makeup artist: Las Vegas (as Zoë Hay)
  • Lucia Mace known as hair department head
  • Tania McComas known as makeup department head
  • Susan Romero known as makeup artist: Las Vegas
  • Cindy Rose known as hair stylist: Las Vegas
  • Trish Seeney known as key makeup artist (as Patricia Seeney)
  • Sherryn Smith known as additional makeup artist

Art Department:

  • Bobby Anderson known as picture car coordinator
  • Eric Bryant known as assistant art director (as Eric D. Bryant)
  • Mickey Carter known as set dresser
  • James Champoux known as set dresser
  • Jonathan Champoux known as carpenter
  • Danica Chipman known as set buyer
  • Ralph Contrado known as scenic
  • Melissa Cooperman known as assistant props
  • E. David Cosier known as set designer
  • Mick Cukurs known as set designer
  • Noah Dubreuil known as on-set dresser
  • Sean Duhame known as graphic artist
  • Elizabeth Fisher known as art department intern
  • Jennifer Gerbino known as assistant property master
  • David Gulick known as property master
  • Jane Gulick known as assistant property master
  • J.M. Hunter known as art department coordinator: Las Vegas
  • Joseph Kearney known as construction coordinator
  • Cameron Keiber known as assistant props
  • Wayne Kimball known as set dresser
  • Morgan Kling known as set dresser
  • George Lee known as set designer (as George R. Lee)
  • Lance Littlefield known as scenic artist
  • Butch McCarthy known as key greens (as John 'Butch' McCarthy)
  • Janine Moore known as art department coordinator
  • Gloria Murphy known as assistant property master
  • Lisa Nagid known as assistant property master
  • Katrina Parsons known as construction auditor
  • Colby E. Peterson known as art production assistant
  • Scott T. Pina known as gang boss
  • Mick Reinman known as storyboard artist
  • Paul Richards known as leadman (as Paul G. Richards)
  • Ricky Riggs known as scenic chargeman (as Richard Riggs)
  • Mark Rodriguez known as set dresser: Las Vegas
  • Timothy Rowcroft known as set dresser
  • Kenneth Salter known as set dressing foreman
  • Christopher Sawtelle known as constructor
  • Robert Smedley known as carpenter
  • Robert Smedley known as construction gang boss
  • Meaghan E. Stone known as props
  • Theodore Suchecki known as general foreman
  • Chris Sullivan known as art department assistant
  • Cammeron Truesdale known as painter
  • Casey Van Maanen known as set dresser
  • Mark Vena known as storyboard artist
  • Christina Ann Wilson known as art director: Las Vegas (as Christina Wilson)
  • Kevin C. Lang known as art department production assistant (uncredited)
  • Eric Matheson known as construction gangboss (uncredited)
  • Jeremy M. Pereira known as scenic artist (uncredited)

..{tab=Company}

Production Companies:

  • Columbia Pictures
  • Relativity Media (in association with)
  • Trigger Street Productions
  • Michael De Luca Productions
  • GH Three

Other Companies:

  • Atlantic Cine Equipment  technocrane rental (uncredited)
  • Boston Film Bureau  special thanks
  • Central Casting  extras casting
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  cranes
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  dollies
  • Cinema Mechanics  grip and lighting equipment
  • Columbia Records  soundtrack
  • David Haddad  transportation equipment
  • DeLuxe Laboratories  prints
  • Haddad's  transportation equipment
  • Hanna Brothers Catering  catering
  • Hard Rock Hotel & Casino  special thanks
  • High Output  grip and lighting equipment
  • Lightnin' Production Rentals  transportation equipment
  • Massachusetts Film Office  special thanks
  • Pacific Studios Inc.  chromatrans background
  • Pacific Title  main titles
  • Pfaff Protective Group  security
  • Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino  special thanks
  • President and Trustees of Boston University, The  special thanks
  • RSIG Security  set security
  • Red Rock Hotel & Casino  special thanks
  • Reel Team, The  loop group
  • Riviera Hotel & Casino[us]  special thanks
  • Sony Pictures Stock Footage  stock footage
  • Sony Pictures Studios  post sound services
  • Technicolor Digital Intermediates  digital intermediate
  • Vanguard Cinema  artwork
  • Wildfire Studios  adr recording facility

Distributors:

  • Buena Vista Sony Pictures Releasing (BVSPR) (2008) (Russia) (theatrical)
  • Columbia Pictures (2008) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Sony Pictures Entertainment (2008) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • Sony Pictures Releasing (2008) (Argentina) (theatrical)
  • Sony Pictures Releasing (2008) (Germany) (theatrical)
  • Sony Pictures Releasing (2008) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • Sony Pictures Releasing (2008) (Sweden) (theatrical)
  • Sony Pictures Releasing (2008) (Singapore) (theatrical)
  • Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Finland (2008) (Finland) (theatrical)
  • Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (2008) (Switzerland) (theatrical)
  • LK-TEL (2008) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • LK-TEL (2008) (Argentina) (VHS)
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2008) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2008) (Netherlands) (DVD) (Blu-Ray Disc)
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2008) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-Ray Disc)
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2008) (USA) (DVD) (two-disc special edition)
  • Sony Pictures (2008) (Sweden) (DVD)
  • Sony Pictures (2008) (Sweden) (DVD) (Blu-Ray Disc)

..{tab=Other Stuff}

Special Effects:

  • Gray Matter FX (visual effects)
  • Pixel Liberation Front (previsualization)

Visual Effects by:

  • Chris Bankoff known as computer graphics compositing supervisor
  • Brent M. Bowen known as digital compositor
  • Daniel Buck known as lighting lead
  • John Cairns known as digital compositor: Gray Matter FX
  • Monika Chvatikova known as visual effects coordinator
  • Ashley Clark known as visual effects producer
  • Keely Colcleugh known as previsualization artist
  • Sean Cushing known as previsualization editor: Pixel Liberation Front
  • Harry Eisenstein known as digital compositor
  • Reece Ewing known as visual effects producer: Sway Studios (as Larry Ewing)
  • Steven Fahey known as visual effects
  • Graham Fyffe known as technical director
  • Mark Glaser known as computer graphics creative supervisor
  • Robert Glaser known as animation lead
  • Nancy Hyland known as compositor
  • Rusty Ippolito known as digital artist
  • Myung Kim known as compositor
  • Myung Kim known as rotoscope artist
  • Colin Liggett known as lead compositor
  • Margaux Mackay known as executive visual effects producer
  • Gray Marshall known as visual effects supervisor
  • Rob Meyers known as shader
  • Rob Meyers known as texture artist
  • Christopher Nichols known as computer graphics visual effects supervisor (as Chris Nichols)
  • Trent Shumway known as lead compositor
  • Derek Smith known as digital artist: animation & lighting
  • Greg Tsadilas known as animator
  • Greg Tsadilas known as visual effects
  • Bob Wiatr known as digital effects compositor: Pacific Title
  • Laura Zentil known as pre-visualization producer
  • Valerie Delahaye known as visual effects producer: Make Inc (uncredited)

Release Date:

  • USA 7 March 2008 (South by Southwest Film Festival)
  • USA 12 March 2008 (ShoWest)
  • USA 28 March 2008
  • Germany 10 April 2008
  • Greece 10 April 2008
  • Iceland 11 April 2008
  • Ireland 11 April 2008
  • Spain 11 April 2008
  • Sweden 11 April 2008
  • UK 11 April 2008
  • Belgium 16 April 2008
  • Egypt 16 April 2008
  • Argentina 17 April 2008
  • Israel 17 April 2008
  • Russia 17 April 2008
  • Brazil 18 April 2008
  • Estonia 18 April 2008
  • Italy 18 April 2008
  • Kuwait 24 April 2008
  • Venezuela 25 April 2008
  • Hungary 1 May 2008
  • Portugal 1 May 2008
  • Bulgaria 9 May 2008
  • Australia 15 May 2008
  • Taiwan 16 May 2008
  • Uruguay 16 May 2008
  • Philippines 28 May 2008
  • Austria 30 May 2008
  • Japan 31 May 2008
  • France 4 June 2008
  • Switzerland 4 June 2008 (French speaking region)
  • Switzerland 5 June 2008 (German speaking region)
  • Colombia 6 June 2008
  • India 6 June 2008
  • Poland 6 June 2008
  • Turkey 6 June 2008
  • Indonesia 12 June 2008
  • Hong Kong 19 June 2008
  • South Korea 19 June 2008
  • Denmark 20 June 2008
  • Finland 20 June 2008
  • Mexico 20 June 2008
  • Norway 20 June 2008
  • Netherlands 26 June 2008
  • Singapore 26 June 2008

MPAA: Rated PG-13 for some violence, and sexual content including partial nudity

..{tab=Gallery}{/tabs}

Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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