Review – The Gambler

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The Gambler is a 2014 film directed by Rupert Wyatt (previously directed Rise of the Planet of the Apes and The Escapist), and starring Mark Wahlberg. The film is a remake of a film of the same name, from 1974 which starred James Caan in the lead role.

Wahlberg stars as Jim Bennett, grandson of a wealthy Californian Ed (Geoge Kennedy), who is a former novelist, current university lecturer and total gambling addict wth rapidly increasing debts. His writing career has seen a single published, but bestselling novel from years earlier.

Whilst trying to solve his money problems, he lectures his class which includes Amy, a talented writer played by  Bree Larson (Room) and Lamar (played by Anthony Kelley) an upcoming college basketball star.

As the film progresses, Bennett turns to different people to try and solve his money issues but with every opportunity to pay debt, comes money with which to gamble further.

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Wahlberg and Larson both offer solid performances in the lead, but its the performances of Jessica Lange as his mother, and John Goodman as loan shark Frank that stood out for me.

It’s ok – I had hoped for more, but nothing wrong with it and in fairness in creating a lead character that even with their obvious flaws that you are still rooting for, Wahlberg and Wyatt have achieved. In honesty though, the thing I most took form it, was a desire to watch the original.

6/10

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