The Gambler (Rupert Wyatt, 2014): USA

Reviewed by Mina Gilbertsson. Viewed at the AFIFest 2014.

The Gambler is a remake of Karel Reisz’s 1974 drama, with Mark Wahlberg in the lead. He takes on the role of Jim Bennett, an English teacher who discovers the dangerous world of gambling. One night, Bennett loses $240,000 dollars at a Korean gambling establishment. His mother Roberta (Jessica Lange) helps him out with his dept, trusting him to put the addiction behind him. Unfortunately, Bennett tries to increase his earnings but loses, bringing him back to square one.

The smartest student in his class, Amy (Brie Larson), works at the underground tables where Bennett usually gambles. She helps him realize to stop this obsessive lifestyle and teaches him the importance of living and loving life in a way he was not very familiar with, especially not since his father passed away.

Even though the film was enjoyable there was something missing. Personally, I couldn’t relate to Bennett as much as I would want to. I lost my sympathy for him when he kept doing the wrong thing over and over again, even though he had the chance to make it right. The one thing that caught my eye was one of the last scenes when he was running home from the gambling establishment. It was a beautiful sequence where Bennett finally “runs away from his problems”.

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