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Those looking for a captivating heist drama can look no further. Released in 2008 and directed by Robert Luketic, this true story dives into the life of Ben Campbell, a genius student at MIT. With the future cost of medical school weighing him down, a solution comes his way. Lucky enough, he is drafted by his math professor, Micky Rosa, into a group with four other students. This unethical professor trains the students to count cards in Black Jack. Later set in the hypnotic city of Vegas, the group takes secretive weekend trips there. Between the thrill of playing and the greed of winning, Ben is living his best life. However, all this changes when the casino security guard, Cole Williams, is onto him.

Jim Sturgess masterfully plays the role of Ben Campbell. His professor, Micky Rosa, is acted out by Kevin Spacey. The other students in the club, Jill, Choi, Kianna, and Fisher, are portrayed by Kate Bosworth, Aaron Yoo, Liza Lapira, and Jacob Pitts. Lastly, the security guard, Cole Williams, is played out by Laurence Fishburne.

The movie was primarily filmed in Boston and Las Vegas:

  • Because of his financial situation, Ben decides to work as an assistant manager at J Press, 82 Mount Auburn Street, at Dunster Street, a block south of Harvard Square in Cambridge.
  • Ben has his 21st birthday celebrations at Doyle’s Braddock Cafe, 3484 Washington Street, in Jamaica Plain, a few miles southwest of Boston. This café is also seen in Clint Eastwood‘s Mystic River and William Friedkin’s 1978 caper movie, The Brink’s Job.
  • The team explains to Ben how the operation works in the South Street Diner, 178 Kneeland Street, near Chinatown. This same diner was in 1987’s Hiding Out, with John Cryer, and 1992’s Housesitter, with Steve Martin.
  • Greed gets to Ben’s head and he gambles until he loses $200,000 at the Red Rock Casino, 1011 West Charleston Boulevard, in Vegas.
  • After losing the money, Ben pays a visit to Jill at 42 Beacon Street at Broadway, in Chelsea, just over the Tobin Memorial Bridge.
  • The group goes back to Sin City for another operation at Planet Hollywood, 3667 South Las Vegas Boulevard.

Some interesting facts:

  • Actual Boston University students were used as extras on set.
  • The movie crew took some of the players on the original team to Vegas in order to conduct research for the film.
  • This movie was used as a prize for the contestants on Big Brother 9. It included a showing of the movie before release date and a trip to Vegas.