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Film Review: The Gambler

On February 5, 2015

By Sophia Whitfield
The 1974 film written by James Toback makes a comeback in this remake. Transported from New York to LA, Mark Wahlberg takes on the role originally made famous by James Caan.

Jim Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) is a young man born with a silver spoon in his mouth. An English professor and novelist, he has family wealth to burn.

Addicted to the blackjack table Bennett lives two lives, the one in front of his students where he lectures on the merits of literature and his seedy gambling life where he feeds his addiction.

The gambling scenes are gripping. You are hoping Bennet will eventually stop before he loses everything.
As the film opens Walhberg already owes a six figure sum. He turns to his estranged mother (Jessica Lange) to get him out of a bind. She provides the money but makes it clear it is the last time. Wahlberg can’t help himself as he returns to the blackjack table.

Bennett has little regard for his own life as he borrows money from a gangster (Michael Kenneth) offering his own life as collateral. As he immerses himself in an illicit gambling world he gains the attention of Frank (John Goodman), a loan shark, with an interest in Bennett’s future.

The only people Wahlberg seems to care about are his students. He has a tennis and basketball champion in his class, both of whom he admires and Amy (Brie Larson), a young woman he says has what it takes to write a novel. Once his gambling habit starts to raise its head in his lecture theatre he must risk everything to break free.

The Gambler is out today in cinemas across Australia.

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