Win It All Review

Win It All (2017) Movie Review By Stephen McLaughlin

Director: Joe Swanberg
Writers: Jake Johnson,  Joe Swanberg
Stars: Jake Johnson,  Rony Shemon,  Morgan Ng, Joe Lo Truglio

Jake Johnson is Eddie Garrett who agrees to look after a bag for an acquaintance who is heading to prison. The deal being if Eddie can look after the bag for the six month duration he will earn himself a $10,000 payout.

When he discovers there is cash in the bag, he’s unable to resist the temptation and winds up deeply in debt, due to a gambling problem. Unfortunately for Eddie, when the acquaintances prison release is shortened, Eddie suddenly has a small amount of time to win all the money back.

“Win It All” is a movie with a simple premise. Writers Jake Johnson and Joe Swanberg take this simple story and keep the audience guessing on where Eddie will end up. Will he manage to win it all back? will he work it of? or will he fake his own death and cut his losses? That’s the basis of the story, but there is also the small matter of Eddie’s life style choices.

We are first introduced to Eddie entering a gamblers den at night and can only assume his night wasn’t successful. He mooches of his local shopkeeper for a coffee and a cookie promising to pay him it all back (I assumed he does this to the shop owner quite a bit) and arrives back home in the early hours of the morning to be met by the acquaintance with his proposition. Eddie comes across a loser and a selfish one at that. His brother Ron (Joe Lo Truglio) is forever offering him a job in the family landscaping business in which Eddie doesn’t want it or be any part of it.

When he finally runs up a $20,000 debt he begins to realise that he neeeds to knuckle down and work off the debt with an arrangement with Ron that if he manages to keep his head down for six months and work his socks off, Ron will help him pay off his debt. Just when Eddie is seeing the errors of his old ways and actually looks like getting his life back on track he receives a phone call from his acquaintance informing Eddie he is being released early and this sends Eddie into a panic resulting in gambling again running up a further $30,000 odd on top of his current financial plight.

“Win It All” for me is a delightful movie that has a lot of twist and turns, highs and lows that the simple story premise is compensated with a quality script and brilliant writing by Johnson and Swanberg.

Jake Johnson manages to make the character charming and sometimes lovable although you know he is a bum who promises to change his life for the better on a daily basis but in reality is weak with a gambling addiction. The character Eddie to be fair realises this thanks to his group therapist (Keegan-Michael Key) who manages to get Eddie to accept his irresponsibility and bad decision making is down to him and him alone.

Joe Lo Truglio plays the steadier brother who is a family man proud of the business their father left them to inherit. Lo Truglio is great as the supporting actor in “Win it All” and his character Ron contrasts everything that Eddie is not. Lo Truglio’s performance is great and his comedic timing and delivery helps lighten the seriousness of the situation and storyline.

With Swanberg also directing, the collaboration between him and Johnson appears to work. You can sense they set out to accomplish making the film they wanted. It doesn’t have the switching back in forth timeline of a Tarantino flick or the interconnecting scenes of movies like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Crash leading up to a climatic connecting finale. It’s straight forward, simple and most of all, beautifully written. A must see.

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