December 5th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) The Ben Affleck film, “Runner Runner” is sparking outrage with Costa Rican police and the Minister of Public Security.
Despite being released in the United States in October 2013, it seems Costa Rican officials have only now taken notice that the film portrays Costa Rican police officers, and the country in general, in a less-than-flattering light.
The film’s storyline, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, follows Princeton grad student and online poker player, “Richie,” who travels to Costa Rica to confront an online gambling tycoon who he believes has swindled him.
In the film, Costa Rica is depicted as a haven for gamblers and drug addicts, a den of prostitution and the home of corrupt police and security officials.
One scene in particular – which depicts Costa Rican police officers behaving less than professionally – has ruffled the feathers of Costa Rica’s Ministry of Public Security (MSP).
In the scene, Costa Rican police officers – dressed in official uniforms that bear the Fuerza Publica (Costa Rica’s national police) insignia – are seen in the company of prostitutes while drinking and smoking cigars.
Interestingly, the movie was not filmed in Costa Rica. Director Brad Furman chose to film in Puerto Rico instead – and Costa Rica is even depicted as an island.
Costa Rica’s Minister of Public Security, Celso Gamboa said that the unauthorized use of the police insignia is unlawful, and that no Costa Rican officials had granted their permission for the insignia and uniforms to be used in the film.
“Instead of drawing attention to our country for its flora and fauna, they tarnish the image of our civilian police,” Gamboa told reporters.
“It is a way of telling criminals and drug addicts that Costa Rica is perfect [for such behavior]. We want this to be fixed because you don’t play with (mock) our country.”
In Latin America, the film was titled “Apuesta Maxima.” Watch the trailer below.