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The Gambler (2014)
Mark Wahlberg plays James Bennett (Jim), a single, forty-something College literature professor, published author, and inveterate high stakes gambler, who thinks nothing of staking $80K on a midnight game of blackjack. Unsurprisingly, his gambling addiction doesn't accumulate wealth, it builds mountainous debts, owed to the sort of creditors who don't sue through the Courts to recover their money, but resort to rather more barbaric enforcement methods, including Korean gangsters.

During college lectures, Jim swerves between barely-disguised contempt and pity for his students, and rues his own lack of genius as a writer. Jessica Lange plays Jim's wealthy mother, Roberta. The two of them have a fractious love-hate relationship, and just when he needs her financial support the most, she pulls the plug on his funding.

John Goodman plays Frank, a cynical backstreet money lender, who might just be Jim's only chance of avoiding a premature death at the hands of criminals.
The Gambler 2015
 
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Jim starts a relationship with one of his students, a girl from Ohio named Miss Phillips, who's the star pupil in his class and half his age. Sadly, she makes no effort to discourage him from the foolishness of his ways, and Jim never latches onto the fact that pontoon is a mug's game when big money's at stake...

It's really hard to like this film, even though it's watchable. The main reason for this is that Jim Bennett is very far removed from being a sympathetic character. He is narcissistic, self-obsessed, morose, largely oblivious to the feelings of others, and his predilection for gambling isn't explored let alone explained convincingly.

The original movie with James Caan is a light-year ahead of this movie. The point of the character being an English lecturer is so the contrast of where he falls to is great enough that you believe the pain. Pain enough to put his life at risk so someine else can stop the misery. In this movie you don't really care what happens to him.
Marks : 4/10
Director Rupert Wyatt Mark Wahlberg Jim Bennett
Producer Robert Chartoff George Kennedy Ed
Writing William Monahan Jessica Lange Roberta
Cinematography Greig Fraser Brie Larson Amy Phillips
Cert./Runtime 15 / 111 mins John Goodman Frankf
 
 
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