Much of the visual style of the upcoming thriller Molly’s Game goes by in a whirl in the initial trailer. The camera seems to be in near-constant movement as it tracks illicit poker games, courtroom dramatics, and behind-closed-doors intrigue involving the Russian mob, movie stars, and people with both a lot of money and a lot to lose. But almost immediately, star Jessica Chastain barks a line that lets you know this was written by Aaron Sorkin. “I’m getting that you don’t think much of me, but what if every single one of your ill-informed, unsophisticated opinions about me were wrong?” It may not be the acclaimed and mercurial screenwriter sneering down his nose directly at you, the viewer, but it’s probably the closest we’ve gotten yet to a sentence that could double as the public perception of Sorkin’s own id.
Molly’s Game finds the writer going behind the camera for his feature-film debut, and it’s a hell of a true-life story, a genre that Sorkin has spent a lot of time in as of late (Steve Jobs, Moneyball, The Social Network). Molly Bloom was an Olympic-class skier who somehow wound up spending most of a decade running an illegal, high-stakes poker game. Before a team of gun-wielding FBI agents arrested her in the middle of the night, she had built up a clientele of sports and movie stars, and—unfortunately for her—Russian mafioso. Idris Elba plays Charlie Jaffey, the criminal defense lawyer who tries to help her navigate her way out of the whole mess, and Michael Cera shows up to play…someone other than Michael Cera, presumably, though it’s unclear. Bloom is a typical Sorkin protagonist: hyper-articulate, under the gun, and seemingly incapable of speaking without sounding like a condescending asshole, a celluloid sibling to Steve Jobs’ titular figure and Social Network’s Zuckerberg. As to whether Sorkin can prove himself a capable director as well as writer, we’ll find out when Molly’s Game comes out November 22.