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I'm not a film critic, but I'll tell you what I think about the movies I watch. I enjoy understanding the history behind the movies we watch, as well as the collaborative effort necessary to produce movies.

The Gambler

The Gambler 11The Gambler (2014)

Directed by Rupert Wyatt

Based on the 1974 film The Gambler written by James Toback

Screenplay by William Monahan

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Lange, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Michael Kenneth Williams

Jim Bennett (Wahlberg) is a college professor and a compulsive gambler. As his debts increase, so do the consequences of borrowing from men who won’t be put off. Now Jim is looking for a way out that might protect him and those he cares for.

The Gambler 9This is a remake of a 1974 film written by James Toback (Bugsy). Much of the film was based on the experiences Toback had as a gambling addict and a college professor. This version of the story was written by William Monahan (The Departed), and directed by Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes). The film features Mark Wahlberg (Lone Survivor), Jessica Lange (Tootsie), and John Goodman (Argo). Brie Larson (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Michael Kenneth Williams (12 Years a Slave) round out the cast.

The Gambler 3This movie is written with a sense of grit and set in the underbelly of society. The setup for the story is nicely done, with a series of unique scenes. The characters are put into context quickly, thanks to nice introduction scenes. The dialogue can be a bit overlong at times, but does a good job setting the tone. The story is interesting but also flawed in a number of ways. While the writing seems to find interesting moments throughout the film, the overall arc seems lost at times. There are moments in the film that feel forced and sometimes just out of place. The end result is a movie with a number of great scenes that lacks a cohesive story.

The Gambler 8The cast makes the most of this story with a number of great performances. Mark Wahlberg seems to be working with a role that was built specifically for him. He does a great job transitioning through a range of emotions that his character is faced with. Jessica Lange is also good in this one. Her role seems to embody the other side of the coin. She puts together a performance that is filled with anger, sadness, and frustration. Goodman, Williams, and Larson also do nice work with their roles in this one. While the story didn’t provide a perfect canvas for the actors, they still did good work with it.

The Gambler 7Visually, this film is pretty great. The cinematography by Greig Fraser (Zero Dark Thirty) is wonderful. In addition to the camera work, the lighting and other visual aspects come together nicely. The result is a movie that has a unique visual styling to go along with some unique story ideas. The movie also has a good score to go along with the visuals. Overall, this one looks pretty good.

The Gambler 6This is a movie that could’ve been so much more. Despite some strong performances, the story just doesn’t deliver as much as I hoped it would. The result is a good film that wants to be a great one. If you’re a fan of drama, this is one for you. I would also suggest this one to fans of the stars. Despite the issues with the story, the acting is worth checking out. I give this one 3 out of 5 stars.

Rating: R

Running Time: 111 Minutes


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8 Comments on “The Gambler”

  1. CMrok93 December 31, 2014 at 12:49 AM #

    The cast mostly helps this out. But other than that, nothing else seems to be helping this flick out. Good review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeffro517 December 31, 2014 at 7:12 AM #

      I felt like this just needed something to tie all of the elements together. Great acting wasn’t enough. Thanks for checking out the review.


  2. movierob January 3, 2015 at 9:21 PM #

    heard this was terrible and currently dont have any desire to see it.

    Great review tho Jeff

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeffro517 January 3, 2015 at 9:59 PM #

      Thanks for checking the review out. I’m not sure how people will take this one. I certainly don’t think anyone should rush to see it.



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