The Gambler (2014) Down On Its LuckJanuary 19, 2015 2:31 pm
The original 1974 film ‘The Gambler’ is considered somewhat of a classic with actor James Caan having been nominated for a Golden Globe at the time, for his portrayal of an English literature professor with a gambling habit. It’s therefore no wonder Mark Wahlberg jumped at the opportunity to appear in a role that potentially could have earned him another Oscar nomination. Unfortunately, the remake appears to have little of the gritty, hypnotic pull of the original, and critics have already panned it as wearying and labelled its as ultimately a sucker’s bet. As a review on rotten tomatoes states:
“The pundits say The Gambler is slick and reasonably tense, but it lacks the existential moodiness of the classic crime flicks that inspired it.”
While Wahlberg performance seems to have been one of the more positive aspects of the movie, his character Jim Bennett is still said to be less subtle and more mechanical than the Dostoevsky-esque one depicted by Caan in the original. As a result, critics have said the movie is an altogether less absorbing study into the self-destructive personality of a habitual gambler, and ultimately fails to draw the viewer into its protagonist’s plight.
Nevertheless, much of the criticism leveled against the movie has squarely been blamed on Director Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and the screenplay of writer William Monahan, with Andy Lea from the dailystar.co.uk commenting that the script is overwritten when action is called for, and underwritten when an explanation is required. Finally, it has been suggested more emphasis should have been put on the talented supporting cast to add a deeper layer to Wahlberg’s character, including the likes of Jessica Lange, George Kennedy, and John Goodman. As James Canellos from emertainmentmonthly, explains:
“Jim Bennett is a lone wolf that really could have used this pack of actors together to dig himself out of this hole. You win some and you lose some, but like most players The Gambler loses.”