Mark Wahlberg‘s The Gambler Review: Self-Destruction and Addiction Is The Only Way!
For Professor Jim Bennett, the Thrill of Teaching isn’t enough, Self-Destruction and Addiction Is The Only Way for Mark Wahlberg’s The Gambler Review.
Reviewed by Emilio Ricci
In the Mark Wahlberg’s new film “The Gambler” it kicks off with desperation followed by addiction and self-destruction as we follow Jim Bennett down the rabbit hole into self-loathing in his own downward spiral.
The more you watch the more you get sucked into Bennett’s ungrateful existence. Based on Karel Reisz and James Toback 1974 movie starring James Caan, “The Gambler” follows an incredibly obnoxious English professor and degenerate gambler, who loses huge sums of money in illegal games of chance.
Which makes you immediately ask, why do I care?
It’s actually NOT about caring about the rich boy with rich boy problems, it’s becomes a question of does he get out of this or does he succeed with his self-destructive path?
Jim Bennett’s choice of destruction is blackjack and his favorite bet is “double or nothing,” a total sucker bet, but that is the point, he doesn’t want to win. He has a death wish and puts himself in harm’s way because he boxed in and trapped. Jim is an accomplished author with a book no one understood. Instead of getting back up, his decides to go on a self-inflicted, self-destructive path in hopes to find a gruesome end to his meaningless existence. He lives a life of Russian roulette every chance he can, but he ends up pulling in two of his student’s on his road to extinction.
We are all attracted to people we feel suit us and in this case Jim (Wahlberg) is the succubus who finds common ground with his student and star basketball player, Lamar Allen (played by newcomer Anthony Kelly). Amy Phillips (Brie Larson) is his other victim that the self-degradation professor pulls into his world, since she happened to see him in his other world of illegal underground casinos. She is fascinated by him and actually turned on by his, unquenchable cravings for destruction. She is almost like his savior, his last chance at salvation on a rollercoaster of undeniable addiction.
Bennett’s thirst is unquenchable and there is no way he can wet his palette to subdue his lustful thirst.
In the tradition of Nicholas Cage in “Leaving Las Vegas” desire to drink himself to death, both characters in each film have unstoppable desire to fall. Like in the film “Fallen” starring Michael Douglas, who is on a path of self-destruction so he goes on a rampage of killing without remorse in hopes to end it all by taking out his loved ones. As for Bennett, his choice is gambling and borrowing money to piss off the wrong people. NOT only is he falling because his father never thought he would amount to anything, he is trying his hardest to offend the wrong people, so they will give him a pair of cement boots.
Bottom line is that he’s just determined to destroy himself.
Wahlberg, though, is always watchable, he gives an amazing performance even though he comes across as the worst English teacher ever. Its Mark’s onscreen charisma that will keep you engrossed in the film. His performance as a gambler addicted to the thrill of the game on a road to destruction is one of his best performances.
The movie is worth the price of admission. If you like your movie palette tantalized with award winning performances then “The Gambler” is the movie for you.
Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Jessica Lange, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Michael Kenneth Williams, Anthony Kelly and more…
Director: Rupert Wyatt
Writer: William Monahan (screenplay), James Toback
Paramount Pictures “The Gambler” opens in theaters on Christmas Day.
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