In this remake of the James Caan 1974 vehicle The Gambler, an English professor (Mark Wahlberg) who is also a compulsive gambler finds that the only people who will have anything to do with him are those to whom he owes money. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Brie Larson, Jessica Lange, John Goodman, Emory Cohen
Release Date: Dec 25, 2014
Rated R for some Sexuality/Nudity and Language Throughout
Runtime: 1 hr. 51 min.
Genres: Drama, Suspense/Thriller
The Gambler is a film that’s trying very hard to be something special. Rupert Wyatt gives the film a glossy sheen, driving it through its narrative with noticeable energy. Mark Walhberg is doing his best Christian Bale impression by losing a massive amount of weight and looking generally disheveled. John Goodman does excellent work in a supporting role as Mafioso. Typically all this would make for an excellent film but the results here are mixed. I respect Walhberg’s attempts to take his craft seriously but he’s seriously miscast here as the worlds most aggressive English professor. He gives it his best try but it doesn’t work, it’s just never believable. It’s always good to see Brie Larson get some work but she’s saddled with a nonsensical love interest role. We’re told she’s a genius early on but her actions throughout the rest of the film tell us otherwise. John Goodman does give us an excellent supporting turn, creating an extremely intimidating character in limited scenes. All in all The Gambler feels like a missed opportunity because there seems to be a better film in there somewhere.