The Movie: 7.5/10
On a warm summers eve, on a train bound for nowhere…..
It’s a pretty good movie. Is that enough? I find it hard to expand on some movie thoughts, they just are what they are. In The Gambler we have a man vs. himself in a sinking world of losing money to bad people and to his own self-pity. He’s troubled, but rich, handsome, talented and smart. He’s the kind of guy you just wanna smack, or become obsessed with. Did I mention he’s a professor and very deep? Well, he’s a professor, and he thinks he’s deep. He appears to be at that very common crossroads of life, do I let the bad things I do suck me down into total darkness, or do I rise above and find a way to happiness? Watch it to find out which he chooses.
The music is excellent. The look of the whole thing is amazing. The sets are the kind that make me want to pause sometimes just to look around the screen in case I’m not noticing all the details. We get a treasure of great performances, even John Goodman who I don’t normally like, and especially Marky Mark. Yes, I went there. Jessica Lange has a special place in my heart from King Kong 76, but she’s not the shining star of this project. I like it all really, I think I do, I mean, I remember liking it and can’t think of anything terribly negative to say about it. It must be true, it’s a pretty good movie:)
The bad guys are good bad guys, more complicated than most but just as menacing. We have creepy bad guys if the movie is called The Gambler. With a good story about a dude who needs to get his head out of his you-know-what, get away from those bad guys who don’t find him charming, and comes across a love interest that doesn’t kick you in the face as a love interest, it is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Wahlberg is excellent, restrained but a little out there, as usual. He’s learned to refrain from a lot of the bigger gestures I think he’s very capable of, but in his aging years has learned that less is more.
What I really like about this character is that he is quite barren on the inside, and without making things sappy or finding something hokey to fill the void, he just gets on with life. It is what it is, and I would watch it again right now, if it weren’t so late and I had some toast in the toaster waiting to be eaten. Good night everyone. Wait, you know what bugs me though, not one mention of Kenny Rogers through the whole thing.
- Mr Self Destruct: Inside The Gambler (14 Minutes) – A comparison between the original film and the 2015 versions. It even goes into Mark Wahlberg’s dramatic weight loss for the movie.
- Dark Before Dawn: The Descent Of The Gambler (16 Minutes) – A look at the gambling den used in the end sequences of the film. This also covers some of the shooting locations and has a couple of interviews with the director.
- Changing The Game: Adaptation (9 Minutes) – A detailed overview of the process of reinventing the original movie for a modern audience. I have always had a soft spot for Willam Monahan who wrote The Departed and some of the stuff he says here makes a lot of sense to me.
- In The City: Locations (9 Minutes) – Guess what this one is about? You guessed right its a look at the locations used throughout the movie.
- Dressing The Players: Costume Design (8 Minutes) – A look at the costuming for the movie.
- Deleted/Extended Scenes (25 Minutes) – Quite a few deleted scenes here, if you don’t usually watch these little extras make sure you watch the one called Jim’s Ex Wife as it reveals a whole new subplot cut from the film. Other scenes include Jims Extended Lecture, A Born Teacher Extended, Big Ernie, Taxi Ride and Larry Jones.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art: 3/10
I really think good movies should be required to have good covers, but that’s subject. So, on the subject this cover sucks.
Audio & Video: 8/10
The Gambler has a very digital look to it, it’s quite obvious it has never seen a film reel as there is no grain and the image is quite flat. There is also quite a bit of black crush during some of the dark scenes. Aside from those issues though, the film is artistically a good-looking affair with moments of brilliance throughout. There is also a lot of detail given the 1080P AVC digital source, take a look at the poker chips on the casino tables for evidence of this.
Audio is provided using the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Lossless Soundtrack. It’s an involving track that has a lot going for it. The film features a lot of different music tracks and they are presented in a bombastic manner using all 5 of the speakers. Dialog is delivered to the center speaker as it should be. One thing to note listen to the Paramount Logo at the start with your eyes closed you might be surprised with what you hear.
Overall Score 7.5/10