*The movie “The Gambler,” when you first hear the title, seems at first another typical film about the ends and outs of another individual that is obsessed with winning large amounts of money and risking it all.
Well I am here to tell you that Director Rupert Wyatt and Producer Mark Walberg mix your brain with another spin to what it means in risk taking. Walberg also plays Jim Bennett an English professor and a high-stakes gambler who seems to be looking for a way to die at every turn.
You are taken in his world through the inner spaces of Los Angeles that usually not all are privy to or invited as Walberg (Jim Bennett) strives on making deals with loan sharks just for fun. It seems that he has more of a rush getting these powerful and dangerous men to give him money than betting on a winning hand in Black Jack.
This movie takes you on an emotional journey with a man as though you are walking side by side with him into the darkness of his life. He continues to search for what will make him happy spiritually and emotionally trying to fill the void of his desire of wanting simple love. He constantly dives in.
Being the high-stakes gambler that he is, he’s watched closely by a powerful man, Frank (John Goodman), who knows what type of man Bennett is. Bennett approaches Frank asking him to front him money, but Frank wants Bennett to really lower himself and tell him that he is not “a man.” Well, no dice. Bennett takes a walk.
Bennett then meets Neville played by Michael Kenneth Williams known for his role in the “Wire.” Bennett lures Neville into giving him $50,000 dollars and in seconds he loses it slapping Neville in the face. Neville wants his money back, along with the Chinese who lent him money and he’s got seven days to get it.
Bennett takes beating after beating and endures constant torture not caring if he dies with no fear.
In all of his aloofness of not caring, he somehow falls in love with Brie Larson (Amy Philips), one of his students. He battles within himself if he should partake in a relationship or not. She is the one person who will change his life. Now the sharks have something to barter with and they use it to the fullest.
Threating him with the loss of his new found desire that he has been searching for all his life, Bennett doesn’t go down without a fight. He loses his car and career to betting one more time. He returns to Frank asking him for more money and Frank makes it quite clear that he will wipe out his entire bloodline if he fails to pay it back.
This movie is a winner in every aspect. It grabs you from the start and rings you around with sharpness at every corner. You are continuously aware in every scene by the music, the rain and the dance in the world of Jim Bennett. Your eyes will not leave the screen in anticipation of what will happen next.
Everyone who watches this movie will leave with a personal lesson of their own. Each character in this film is all about truth which is very rare in this day and age to find. They all live life in a different way than most but they live by taking risk without regretting any decision that they have made. To live free is what we all strive for. However, in obtaining freedom one is entangled with the battle within one’s self on what real freedom is; sometimes it is not giving any doubt to what you want to inherit in life.
“The Gambler” leaves you with many things to think about. It leaves you with thoughts of change, self-enlightenment and the potential that one possesses to obtain complete happiness. This is an award winning cast and if this movie does not at least get nominated with an Oscar for best picture, I will truly be disappointed.
You must see “The Gambler” for yourself … it is brilliant.
Watch the red band trailer for “The Gambler”: