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Casino Jack (2010)

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A hot shot Washington DC lobbyist and his protégé go down hard as their schemes to peddle influence lead to corruption and murder.

Writer:

Norman Snider
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Spacey ... Jack Abramoff
Ruth Marshall ... Susan Schmidt
Graham Greene ... Bernie Sprague
Hannah Endicott-Douglas ... Sarah Abramoff
Barry Pepper ... Michael Scanlon
John Robinson ... Federal Agent Patterson
Jason Weinberg ... Snake
Spencer Garrett ... Tom DeLay
Yok Come Ho Yok Come Ho ... Asian Factory Worker
Anna Hardwick ... Lobbyist #2
John David Whalen ... Kevin Ring
Matt Gordon ... Bill
Jeffrey R. Smith ... Grover Norquist
Christian Campbell ... Ralph Reed
Eric Schweig ... Chief Poncho
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Storyline

A hot shot Washington DC lobbyist and his protégé go down hard as their schemes to peddle influence lead to corruption and murder. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Honor. Integrity. Principles. Everything is Negotiable.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some violence and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 January 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bagman See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$34,528, 19 December 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,039,869, 3 April 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The dramatic cinema movie Casino Jack (2010) and the feature film documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money (2010), which were both pictures about the same subject, both actually debuted and premiered in the same year of 2010. See more »

Goofs

When Michael Scanlon drives up to the SunSail cruise ship in Florida to see Gus Boulis, the front of his rental car has a Florida license plate. Additionally, another car appears with a Florida license on the front. License plates for automobiles are printed on one tag only and must be placed on the rear of the vehicle. Only commercial tractor trucks carry Florida plates on the front. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jack Abramoff: 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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Crazy Credits

Brief footage of the real Jack Abramoff's introduction speech of Tom DeLay is shown during the end credits. See more »

Connections

References The Lone Ranger (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

Quanto e' bella
form "L'elisir d'amore" Act 1, Nemorino's aria
Music by Gaetano Donizetti
Music provided by APM Music LLC
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lessons in Self Justification.
11 July 2012 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

I had a difficult time dealing with this movie, partly because the entire system of lobbying is so despicable in itself, and partly because the writer has done his best to show Jack Abramoff as a fundamentally nice guy who just overreached a little and got caught.

I mean, right at the beginning, after we see Kevin Spacey (superb) talking to himself in a mirror, we hear his explanation of why lobbyists exist. Because they're useful. They give legislators information about subjects the legislators need to know something about in order to do their jobs.

That explanation comes straight out of a now unfashionable school of sociological thought called functionalism. If something exists in a society, it's there for a good reason. Otherwise it wouldn't be there, right? Whores make the streets safe for our wives and children. The Mafia fills in the gaps that the police force can't, and it meets a market demand among consumers of illegal goods. Mass murderers and psychopaths provide us with bad examples that we can point out to our kids so they'll know what not to become.

According to the film, Abramoff just did was everyone else was doing. He only had the misfortune of being caught. Nobody argues that perhaps congressional aides or interns ought to be doing the research instead of paid lobbyists. No explanation is offered for why spending on lobbyists more than doubled between 2000 and 2009.

There are no such reality intrusions. Abramoff is a colorful, funny, very active guy. He works out. He loves his family. He knows everyone. He's religious. He opens a kosher restaurant on K Street and plans to open a Hebrew school.

A second reason I found it hard to assess the movie is that I didn't understand it because I'm too dumb. I couldn't follow all the shenanigans. Okay. In one of his minor deals, towards the beginning, the Chippewa tribe, among whom I once lived as a cultural anthropologist, gave him millions of dollars and the money apparently disappeared. Where? I don't know. I told you I was dumb. I don't know what an expression like "he wants ten percent under the table" means. I don't know why a Greek was killed. I don't know why Jon Lovitz got stabbed with a ball point pen. Tom DeLay has a prominent role and I don't know what he did that was supposed to be bad. Abramoff makes some venomous remark about George W. Bush at the end and I don't know why. And I can hardly credit the notion that Mike Scanlon's (Barry Pepper, with a great twisted face) girl friend dropped the dime on all these enterprises because she found a pair of red alien panties in her boy friend's laundry. It's the kind of movie that someone as stupid as I am needs a little preparation for -- a few hours of studying with a book called "Lobbying for Dummies" or something.

Because except for the murder I couldn't identify a single illegal act in the entire movie. Lobbyists give money to politicians and the politicians do favors in return. It sounds a lot like bribery to me, and I know THAT'S illegal, or at least I think it is, but I don't know why, when it takes one form, it's called "lobbying" and is as kosher as Abramoff's restaurant that serves the best roast beef in the city, and why, when it takes another form, it's called "bribery" and you go to jail.

I do, however, recognize a decent performance when I see one, and three performances are stand outs in this production. Kevin Spacey, a little older and chubbier, gets to do some of his impersonations -- Clinton, Al Pacino, and a few others, and he's good. Barry Pepper as Scanlon is terrific as well, as the emotionally unstable squeal cat. And Jon Lovitz is funny, no matter whether the part calls for a comic presentation or not. He's hilarious in some scenes, which I won't spell out.

Not a masterpiece by any means -- "Barbarians At The Gates" is about leveraged buy outs and it's better -- but worth seeing once. I hope you have better luck in decoding the events than I did.


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