Sorkin draws a royal flush in his directorial debut, ‘Molly’s Game’

By MARK VIOLA

I like good movies and I like good writing, and when Aaron Sorkin writes movies, they tend to be quite good, including “Moneyball,” “The Social Network” and “A Few Good Men.” He writes some of the best dialogue you’re ever going to hear. He has also found success in the realm of television, with shows like “The West Wing” and “The Newsroom.”

My only real issue with Sorkin is the fact that when he tries to make a point, which he often does, he tends to utilize the writing equivalent of a sledge hammer, a technique that just doesn’t work for me. So when I heard he was not only writing his latest film, “Molly’s Game,” but also making his feature directorial debut, I was a little concerned. Give a writer a chance to sit in the director’s chair, and you get the unfiltered version of their writing, which can result in fascinating projects — such as Charlie Kaufman’s mindboggling “Synecdoche, New York” — but can also unleash his or her worst tendencies.

Fortunately, that is not the case with “Molly’s Game,” which is everything you’d want from an Aaron Sorkin-directed film without everything you’d fear from an Aaron Sorkin-directed film. In addition to his usual spectacular writing, the movie is quite well directed and boasts two stellar performances from Jessica Chastain (“The Zookeeper’s Wife”) and Idris Elba (“The Dark Tower”). Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is easily one of my favorite films of 2017.

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