‘The Gambler’ Review

First Words

A movie about someone owing all this money to all these different people starring Mark Wahlberg and is written by William Monahan, the guy who wrote ‘The Departed’, sounds interesting to me; Not the greatest movie ever but just the potential to be pretty good. However, those expectations seemed to be too lofty  for ‘The Gambler’.


Professor Jim Bennett (Wahlberg) gambles his way into debt that leads to him owing money to a few different people. As a relationship with one of his students (Brie Larson) starts to blossom, Bennett must figure out how to use his risky, gambling attitude to get himself out of this dangerous situation.

Yeah, I Liked That

The acting is basically the only bright spot for this disappointing movie. Wahlberg is good as a seemingly unstable, not caring if he lives or dies, gambling addict.Even though he still gives off that “tough guy” attitude in this role as he has in a lot of his recent roles, it works well once again. The way Wahlberg plays Bennett brings a majority of the entertainment value that this movie has, whether its from his tough talk or the humor he brings purposely and sometimes accidentally. Also, Wahlberg’s interaction with some of his costars was interesting to watch. The best of those moments had to be the conversations between him and one of his students, Lamar (the films resident college basketball star), played by newcomer Anthony Kelley.

Other costars John Goodman and Michael Kenneth Williams also showed their acting chops. Both gave off their owngoodman version of a menacing vibe. I just wish their characters were given more to do, especially in Goodman’s case. It felt like (but I’m probably just overacting) that almost every time we saw him, we saw a little too much of him sitting in a towel. The movie needs more Goodman but less of him in a towel (no offense).

Yeah, I Didn’t Like That

As I insinuated earlier, a movie written by the guy who wrote ‘The Departed’ should equal a good movie. I mean seriously, ‘The Departed’ is such a classic movie. Then I looked back at the other movies written by Monahan and I realized that isn’t the case actually (just see ‘Edge of Darkness’ and an actual lackluster Leonardo DiCaprio movie, ‘Body of lies’). ‘The Gambler’ reinstated how wrong I was to assume. The script he put together was extremely disappointing. The movie had some confusing moments because when some characters would talk, I had no clue what they were talking about but somehow the movie just progressed forward. So there I was, sitting all lost and confused. Maybe I’m just not bright enough to follow this movie. I’m going to say I doubt it though since this is MY review. Anyways, lets proceed…

The plot of the movie turned out to be very underwhelming as well. A movie about a guy getting into debt and then having seven days to pay it off sounds like it could turn out to be pretty good, especially when you have the right person writing it (see the above paragraph). But once again I was wrong. Even though it was supposed to seem like Bennett’s life was in danger, as the seven days counted down, I didn’t feel the pressure building. Much of that has to do with the script and the rest has to do with how everyone who was involved decided to develop the plot.

Speaking of the plot, I really didn’t like the sports turn it took in the third act. I get the game that was shown had to do with the plot and gambling on sports is popular in the world today but too much time was spent on that element of the story. It really felt like I was watching the end of a sports movie that has the whole “it’s going good, then it’s going bad, and then the game turns out good at the last minute.” Well technically the scene cut off right before we got to see what the whole scene was leading up to. Maybe that was the director, Rupert Wyatt, realizing that this isn’t the type of movie I was trying to make so let me fix it at the last minute. Who knows but either way, the damage was already done.

Last Words

To say I was disappointed with this movie would be a slight understatement. I didn’t even touch on how the movie ended, all happy and running around and whatnot (you’ll understand that when you see it). Thank goodness my boy Marky Mark didn’t personally disappoint or I would actually be upset.

RATING:Might Rent (I have to explain this one too. If I were to ever watch this movie again, it’s basically because I think it left me confused at some parts so I would just want to figure out what I just watched during those moments.)   


P.S. Once again here is my rating scale. There are four different levels. Below is each level in order from best to worse and what each one means.

Must Own = A movie that is so good that I must add it to my Blu-ray collection when it comes out.

Would Accept as a Gift = I enjoyed the movie but don’t necessarily have to buy it (especially if I don’t have the funds to) myself but I would take it if someone bought it for me.

Might Rent = A movie that if I have the urge to watch again then I’ll just rent it from somewhere or Netflix it.

Never See Again = Very simple. I don’t want to ever see this movie again.


(Photo Credit:Shari K. Green – http://www.txtmovieclub.com/profiles/blogs/tmc-movie-review-the-gambler;)

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