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The Gambler (2014)

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2:33 | Trailer
Literature professor and gambler Jim Bennett's debt causes him to borrow money from his mother and a loan shark. Further complicating his situation, is his relationship with one of his students. Will Bennett risk his life for a second chance?

Director:

Rupert Wyatt

Writers:

William Monahan (screenplay), James Toback
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4,379 ( 264)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Wahlberg ... Jim Bennett
George Kennedy ... Ed
Griffin Cleveland ... Young Jim
Jessica Lange ... Roberta
Omar Leyva ... Valet
Steve Park ... Number 2 (as Stephen Park)
Brie Larson ... Amy Phillips
Chil Kong ... Blackjack Dealer #1
Michael Kenneth Williams ... Neville Baraka
Da'Vone McDonald ... Neville's Muscle
Amin Joseph ... Neville's Bookkeeper
Cjon Saulsberry ... Neville's Posse
Teebone Mitchell Teebone Mitchell ... Neville's Posse
Jasmond Carroll Jasmond Carroll ... Neville's Posse
Ria Wilkinson Ria Wilkinson ... Neville's Posse
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Storyline

Jim Bennett is a risk taker. Both an English professor and a high-stakes gambler, Bennett bets it all when he borrows from a gangster and offers his own life as collateral. Always one step ahead, Bennett pits his creditor against the operator of a gambling ring and leaves his dysfunctional relationship with his wealthy mother in his wake. He plays both sides, immersing himself in an illicit, underground world while garnering the attention of Frank, a loan shark with a paternal interest in Bennett's future. As his relationship with a student deepens, Bennett must take the ultimate risk for a second chance. Written by Paramount Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Only way out is All in.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout, and for some sexuality/nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 December 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los Altos See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,129,999, 28 December 2014

Gross USA:

$33,680,992

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$39,280,992
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Datasat | Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

James Toback, who wrote the original 1974 version directed by Karel Reisz, was openly critical of this remake. See more »

Goofs

Early in the movie when Jim is at the blackjack table and wins an $80,000 bet with a natural 21, rather than being paid the correct amount which should have been $120,000, he is paid incorrectly as he receives 16 of the blue/white chips adding up to $160,000. See more »

Quotes

Jim Bennett: You're born as a man with the nerves of a soldier, the apprehension of an angel
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening titles, as the classic Paramount logo appears onscreen, we hear the sound of a roulette as the stars are aligning over the Paramount mountain. See more »


Soundtracks

War Chant/Massacre
Written by Charles Carter
Arrangement by Thomas E. Vives
Performed by The Florida State University Marching Chiefs
Courtesy of Florida State University
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Little Movie Who Couldn't
16 January 2015 | by caseynicholsonSee all my reviews

We all remember the classic children's story of "The Little Engine Who Could" about the train that kept telling itself "I think I can, I think I can", and he eventually was able to make it up the hill. "The Gambler" is a lot like "The Little Engine Who Could". It's a movie that obviously set out to be an Oscar contender: it was a remake of a classic film and a classic novel; it starred Mark Wahlberg, one of the best actors in Hollywood these days; it had a terrific supporting cast, including John Goodman and Jessica Lange; and the movie was released in December of 2014, the time that Oscar contenders tend to be released if they want to get the Academy's attention. It's obvious that all who were involved in this film tried really hard.

But, unlike "The Little Engine Who Could", "The Gambler" could not.

I'm writing this review one day after the 2014 Oscar nominations were announced, so I have the benefit of hindsight in making that statement. Still, having seen the movie in the theater just a few days ago, it's obvious that this was a film that wasn't really going anywhere in spite of a good effort.

I should note that I have not seen the 1974 James Caan version of this film, nor have I read the Dosteovsky novel on which it is based, so I can't comment on its faithfulness to its source material. What I can say is that in spite of good efforts on the part of the actors involved, the script for this movie did itself a huge disservice by being a bit too artsy at places. The film is an odd blend of a neo-noir style story with a curious style. It would have been best served to be a straight forward narrative without too much in the way of artistic inventiveness in how the story was being told, but in the end we got too much Coen Brothers directorial influence and not enough "Chinatown".

One might also question the film standard that the movie was captured in, as the movie had a very bright, crisp quality that made it look and feel like a sitcom rather than a gritty, mature themed film about a man who is in serious trouble with loan sharks. It was like reading a copy of "The Godfather" that had been printed in Comic Sans font. That aesthetic vibe caries into the overall tone of the film, as it comes across as almost humorous, despite the attempt at being more serious and deep. The final product is a bit of a mess, with the movie begging to take your attention in too many different ways. It's an attempt at both a gritty novel, a love story, and a witty humor show. It never really gels into any of the above.

In spite of all this, if you go into the movie with a generous attitude, it's certainly not the worst film ever made. It suffers from its setbacks--one scene features Wahlberg running the equivalent of a marathon without breaking a sweat, which was demonstrative of the cumulative problems of the script. And yet, if you approach the film without hopes of it being Oscar worthy but instead of it just simply being a creative two hour diversion, then you may find yourself enjoying the film overall. In spite of my criticisms, I've still rated the movie slightly favorably, giving it 6/10 stars.

Still, it's a pity that this movie tried so hard and has little to show for its effort. I read on the trivia page here that Wahlberg shed 61 pounds for this role and spent a great amount of time researching college literature professors mannerisms. That's a valiant effort on behalf of a great actor. But in the end, it's not enough to get this train up the hills of Hollywood to where it wanted to be.


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