A reporter in Iraq might just have the story of a lifetime when he meets Lyn Cassady, a guy who claims to be a former member of the U.S. Army's New Earth Army, a unit that employs paranormal powers in their missions.
Jack pitches a movie idea to Hollywood movie executives. It is a movie about Moses leading his people out of Egypt, and Jack wants Russell Crowe to star and thinks he can get Ridley to direct. 4 years later, Ridley Scott directed "Exodus: Gods and Kings", but it starred Christian Bale and not Crowe. See more »
When Jack is shown teaching screen-writing to fellow inmates, he has written on the board the film title 'Papillion' rather than 'Papillon'. See more »
You know, I do a shitload of reading and studying and praying, and I've come to a few conclusions I want to share. People look at politicians and celebrities on the TV and the newspapers, glossy magazines - what do they see? "I'm just like them." That's what they say. "I'm special. I'm different. I could be any one of them." Well guess what, you can't. You know why? Cause in reality, mediocrity is where most people live. Mediocrity is the elephant in the room. It's ubiquitous. ...
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Brief footage of the real Jack Abramoff's introduction speech of Tom DeLay is shown during the end credits. See more »
The most awful thing about Casino Jack is knowing it is true, knowing all the good people being fleeced, taken for a ride, are real, knowing that the central theme of this story is alive, kicking and fuelled for take-off even now.
As a dramatisation it works because we do not have to dwell on the complexity of the deals being set up, who is ripping off who, who is the biggest liar. The film's smart pace allows us to soak up the facts like ink on blotting paper and at our own pace.
Thankfully we can lose ourselves in the characters, all of whom are played to perfection by a very strong cast, and all of whom resonate to the people we see and hear about on TV, in the media, even in show business. These are the folk who have more money than sense, or, more accurately, more credit and no shame if they can get away with making huge profits immorally. Less appealing are the players in real life who really are being torn apart through their desperation for attention, for expressions of interest, where any interest may be better than nothing. In this area we are left to feel morally lacking for not doing more to stop this kind of stuff. But the story simply keeps rolling along and we witness the demise of the main characters Abramoff (Spacey) and Scanlon (Pepper) just as it happened in real life.
The opening of the movie sets the scene well into the plot where much of the twisting and double crossing has already begun to unravel. Then we are witness to the events as they unfold through the deals, the double crosses, and the nasty side of greed (is there a nice side?). As the credits roll we also see a couple of the real life events depicted in the movie played back to us, to allow us to judge authenticity. I wonder if this was the only mistake the film makes. I felt the film spoke for itself.
As distressing and disturbing as the film's subject should be it is played out in such a way as we are information and knowledge gathering much like a media warning about "this is what lobbying really is". It is also a shrewd warning as to how shameless and immoral some people are when they are saying nice things to you, as if we needed a warning! I found it worthwhile to research the subject of lobbying a little more after I had seen this film and found myself disbelieving some of the things I have found out. This alone convinced me the film does not pull any punches.
Watch it just to wise up. Fortunately it is acted so powerfully and so sharply you will not want to look away.
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