The Gambler looked to be a slick and stylish film about casino’s, gambling addiction and loan sharks. However those crafty folk who make trailers are very good at their jobs and created a intriguing preview for The Gambler but what the trailer doesn’t prepare you for is just how dull this entire film is.
The Gambler is flawed on almost every level. My main issue was with the lead character, Jim Bennett, played by Mark Wahlberg. This character had no redeeming qualities, not only did he fail to be likeable in every way but he didn’t even have any interesting elements to his personality. I know a character doesn’t have to be likeable to be a good character but Jim Bennett was just such a boring character to focus on, a baffling decision. The film is much like the character, boring. Any potential for drama is removed with awful plot decisions. I didn’t believe any of what I was watching, nothing convinced me. I didn’t believe the main character, I didn’t believe the ‘gangsters’ he borrowed money from and I didn’t believe the ridiculous scenarios featured throughout the film. The movie goes nowhere due to its lack of suspense and tension, I never once cared about the outcome of the film or the fate of Bennett and that is a problem. You know it is bad when a film that focuses on gambling can’t even bring suspense out of these scenes. The only stage in this film where I actually became engaged in the film was during a basketball match, I think I convinced myself I was watching a sports biopic instead, if only.
The film has good performances, yes, but good performances of the most bland characters I have seen recently. The only exception to this would be Roberta (Jessica Lange) she was probably the only character to show any emotion and her time on screen was refreshing if anything. There were a few nice scenes too that caught my attention, one used a sped up effect which worked nicely but apart from these scenes there was little to offer. These few positives simply couldn’t make up for the dreadful story and characters though as boredom set in at an alarming rate and I was really struggling to stay awake at points. I think that this film believes it is better than it is, Bennett is a rare character but you just couldn’t care less about him and his style whilst out of the ordinary doesn’t deliver the desired effect, it just makes you dislike the character. The character is crucial to the story here explaining why the story then ultimately fails. Everything else in between is pretty hit or miss, but mainly miss.
You aren’t taking a risk going to see this movie, the outcome will be the same either way – if you go see this you are in for no doubt one of the dullest movie experiences of 2015. There is hardly any substance to explore here and as a result you will be so disconnected from the events you are watching that you really won’t care what happens.
BIGGEST FLAW – The main character is awful
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT – Jessica Lange does well with the material
Rating – 3/10