GAMBLER, THE (2014) 1


Director: Rupert Wyatt
Writer: William Monahan
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Lange, John Goodman, Brie Larson
Studio: Paramount

“The Gambler” is an attempt to repackage a dark drama from 1974 and shove it into theaters by Christmas. Given the backlog I have accrued from being deathly ill for the last few weeks, most of you will have already missed this film in theaters. But, what exactly did you miss? John Goodman was bald and talked a great deal about his Fuck You money. Brie Larson was cute and Jessica Lange continues to dominate the silver screen. However, Mark Wahlberg is no James Caan. Not even contemporary Caan.

Mark Wahlberg tries his hardest to break out of the standard mold. This is a man who went from doing things like “Fear” to “Boogie Nights” in no time flat. That being said, he is also an actor that comes across as tone deaf in most roles. I guess that informs the role of a man who has given up on life, as he realizes that his addictions have doomed him to an early death. Hell, I loved the college classroom scenes more than anything in this movie. A lot of real life experience connecting to those moments.

I wish that I could understand why Paramount didn’t support this movie during Christmas. Counter programming isn’t always a success, but it can work if you reach out the right audiences. A lot of that would’ve come from releasing the hard-to-find Gambler (1974) on Blu-Ray and Digital HD for a new generation to discover. But, that’s assuming a lot from a company that doesn’t seem to be big on recognizing movies older than 20 years unless it’s an anniversary year. Sorry, Paramount. I’m still pissed that you gave away the keys to the kingdom to Warner Brothers. What could’ve possessed you to do that?


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