Review: Inside Game (2019 San Diego Film Festival)

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Title: Inside Game
MPAA Rating: R
Director: Randall Batinkoff
Starring: Scott Wolf, Will Sasso, Erick Mabius
Runtime: 1 hour 38 minutes

What It Is: Based on the true story of how NBA referee Tim Donaghy (Erick Mabius) and his childhood friends, Tommy Martino (Scott Wolf) and Baba Battista (Will Sasso), hatched a scheme to bet on his games.

What We Think: The ultimate test of loyalty seems to be how criminal a friendship be without telling the cops. Tommy Martino (played by a very charismatic Scott Wolf) reiterates multiple times that the loyalty that is evoked in their bond is pertinent to their very morally loose existence, and their plan tests that very truth.

As the trio grows apart for professional reasons, they find themselves back together due to mutual beneficial coincidences, which leads them to see past their commonalities into the very big differences they have. Baba Battista, a force to be reckoned with on the screen thanks to actor Will Sasso, is chained to his vices, which leads to the first crack in the trio. Tim Donaghy, who’s moral ground seems to sway with his situation, further breaks the mold as he realizes the true impact of his decision and the way his life is now intertwined with friends he can not control.

It’s not a surprise that the movies original perspective came from middle man Tommy Martino in real life, as his character seems to never question his loyalty, though based on Actor Scott Wolf’s portrayal its hard to determine if that has to do with his ties to his friends, or his understanding of what is truly going on.

Our Grade: B+, A well-written script about three men that lack morals, are greedy, and criminals, and still succeed. The film is a classic dick flick, and it makes no aspirations to achieve more or try to be deeper than it’s surface content, but it works. It’s enjoyable, great dialogue, and all three actors bring a charismatic presence to the film that makes the cost of the ticket well worth it.

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