Filmmakers Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck have struggled a bit to capitalize on the indie success of their 2006 hit Half Nelson (the stunning drama that brought Ryan Gosling an Oscar nomination). Their follow-up, Sugar, was well-reviewed but barely seen; 2010’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story was an attempt to make a more mainstream movie, and one that ended up satisfying no one. But after a five year hiatus from the big screen (spent directing, either together or individually, episodes of The Affair, 30 for 30, The Big C, and Looking), they’re back with the buddy gambling drama Mississippi Grind.
The story of two gamblers hitting the road to pay back a giant debt, Grind was a modest hit with critics when it premiered earlier this year at Sundance, with most praise going to the performers—Ben Mendelsohn is, of course, great in everything, while Ryan Reynolds is infinitely more interesting in small projects like this (or The Voices, or Buried) than the big-budget likes of The Green Lantern.
Check out the first trailer, which has a pronounced (and attractive) California Split vibe:
Mississippi Grind is out September 25.