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The real life Susan Schmidt played Jack's secretary in this movie. See more »
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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 »
"Casino Jack" features Kevin Spacey's best performance since 2005
"Casino Jack" tells the real life story of Jack Abramoff (Kevin Spacey), who at one time held a successful career as a lobbyist in Washington, DC. Abramoff, like most lobbyists, was paid by big companies and organizations to help convince Members of Congress to vote for or against certain things in the senate. The film focuses on a massive corruption scandal that led himself, two White House officials, and 10 other lobbyists and congressional members to be convicted. This film is an interesting and somewhat humorous tale of just how far greed and money will take you in America.
I am not a news junkie by any means but I do remember this news story when it happened back in 2006. For those who don't recall, Jack Abramoff became a big focus in the news back in 2006 because he was convicted of fraud, tax invasion, and conspiracy. The film itself never really discusses his sentence however focuses on all the events leading up to it. Now given the fact that this is a movie, I am sure they took some liberties on the story to make it more entertaining. I will have to admit however that this movie seemed pretty realistic and seemed like most of it was based on fact. The people involved in lobbying probably fear films like this because I am sure it shows their true colors. The film really shows how anyone can be bought for the right price and the right amount of negotiation.
Kevin Spacey nails the role of Jack Abramoff in the film. We all remember Spacey from the 1990's when he amazed us in "American Beauty," "L.A. Confidential," and "Usual Suspects" but recently his films just haven't been delivering. However, I am happy to say with "Casino Jack" I really enjoyed his role. It was a very interesting role, he was a little crazy, a bit of a smooth talker, but yet overall a likable guy. I noticed Spacey got nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in this flick and I have to admit either him or Paul Giamatti should get it. This is the first time since 2005 where I think Spacey has actually found a role that fit him as an actor. He was really superb in this flick.
Other than Spacey, there were some good supporting actors here. Barry Pepper, does a good job of getting the audience to hate him. He plays a young clueless womanizer who is also a lobbyist helping out Jack. Kelly Preston plays Jack's wife and she doesn't have much of a part but does add a little bit of flair to some of the scenes. Jon Lovitz plays a great overweight and clueless man who doesn't know a thing about bad investments. He like Barry Pepper's character is also a bit of a womanizer but than again isn't that how most of those people in politics are.
The film was directed by George Hickenlooper, who oddly enough died before the film was actually released. This officially marks his final film as a director. I can't say I have seen any of his previous work but I definitely like his take on this story. It was a very dark and sometimes funny look at things. His vision for Spacey as I said above was dead on. Huckenlooper really unlocked the dark side of politics with this film and really showcased how everyone has a price and even the most likable guys can have dark side.
Norman Snider wrote the screenplay for "Casino Jack" and really did a wonderful job creating the man known to the world as Jack Abramoff. With the help of Hickenlooper directing, Snider's script really made these actors seem like the people they were suppose to present. The script itself was very well written with great dialogue and focused on some of the key elements of the scandal. Snider did an excellent job with character development and that is really what made the film work. This is a very character driven story so its good to see that Snider made it his priority to focus on that.
In the end, I think with the right marketing this film could have been a lot bigger. I was surprised to see how middle of the road most reviews were for this movie. I thought it was a really solid drama with some comedic elements and a great performance by Kevin Spacey. I also have to say that the tag line for the film, "Honor. Integrity. Principles. Everything is Negotiable" is a perfect summary for the movie. If you like films based on actual events with a well written story than you will probably like this. This is definitely a very political film and really does make most politicians and lobbyists look like complete asses but than again don't well all feel that way now? Isn't everyone in government a crook and about themselves? I think a lot of people tend to believe this and this movie only showcases that more. It was a well made and well acted movie and for that I give it solid marks.
MovieManMenzel's final rating for "Casino Jack" is a 8 out of 10. Kevin Spacey's performance is worth the price of admission alone.
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