Richie Furst (Justin Timberlake) thinks he is an expert at online gambling. He earns his tuition money this way, gambling for himself and helping others to gamble, but he still needs a lot more money to pay off his tuition bill ($60,000). The dean of his college tells him to clean up his act in 24 hours or he's going to be kicked out of school. Furst decides to gamble the $17,000 he currently has by betting it all on the website he plays. It's a risk that goes the wrong way for him as he loses all the money.
Certain the site he is playing on, Midnight Black, is fixed, he flies down to Costa Rica where he is able to locate the owner, a suave and cool Ivan Block (Affleck), and tries to get his gambling losses back. Block takes a liking to the young and very smart man and offers him a job on the spot, a job that would make Furst his right hand man, with promises of the good life and money in what initially appears to be paradise.
Little does Furst know Block also wants him to do his dirty work, which includes dealing with a number of shady characters in the gambling underworld. The plot picks up speed as the FBI corners Furst and demands he helps them bring down Block, or he will be charged with a felony for his gambling in school. The next day, Furst discovers the whole operation is a Ponzi scheme and realizes that his role in the operation is to take the fall for if. When he figures it out, Block flees the country. Meanwhile, Block's ex-girlfriend, Rebecca Shafran (a beautiful Gemma Arterton), falls for Furst, and things get a bit complicated when they enter into a relationship. With the officials in cahoots with Block, and with Furst starting to feel the walls around him closing in, he needs to figure out who he can trust and what he needs to do to separate himself from the business, and from Block.
Timberlake is a real movie star. He is excellent as the young man caught up in web of deceit and corruption. Though it is hard to believe that the 33-year-old singer/actor/dancer/everything-man is a Princeton college student, Timberlake can and does hold the movie from beginning to end. Affleck is perfect as the slimy rich Internet kingpin, and unshaven, he exudes mystery and we are quite sure that what we see is what we get. Arterton, last seen in Byzantium, is very good as the love interest, once in love with Block and then falling quickly for Furst.
Feeling at times like a TV show like Miami Vice or CSI Miami, and at times predictable and unbelievable, Runner Runner is a fast-paced crime drama thriller that never drags, is quickly edited, and great to look at.