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Well-paced and reasonably entertaining in its own right, The Gambler still suffers from comparisons to the James Caan classic that inspired it.
All Critics (138)
| Top Critics (35)
| Fresh (61)
| Rotten (77)
| DVD (1)
Mark Wahlberg's designer-suited performance is shallow and self-admiring ... and William Monahan (who wrote The Departed) devises a new narrative direction which is contrived and preposterous.
The dialogue never leaves the surface and the running across Los Angeles that happens in the last sequence is supposed to thrill you, but it's such a cliché that your embarrassment extends to the crew member who has to follow with the camera.
Though Wahlberg is a fine actor, there's no way I can buy him as a college English professor holding forth on Shakespeare and Camus.
The hopeful ending comes off as too little, too late. Wahlberg gives the role his all, but sticking with him is a futile gesture. The Gambler never pays off. It's a sucker's bet.
As The Gambler becomes less about its protagonist's dashed intellectualism and more about the gathering danger of his predicament, the film gains power.
An agreeable if ridiculous slice of old-school Hollywood machismo ...
The dreamlike imagery, editing, and soundtrack invoke the haze of addiction, but the writing never follows through with the message, leaving us unstirred, with little to take home and think about.
The Gambler is a solidly acted and directed piece that somehow can't decide what kind of film it is
THE GAMBLER doesn't amount too much, except a story of a walking existential crisis looking for his pacifier, which is conveniently located at a blackjack table.
Wahlberg loses, and The Gambler craps out.
Wahlberg is a miscast... [Full review in Spanish]
You're just going to spend the two hours annoyed by all of the stupid decisions Bennett makes.
Marky Mark try'na sell a watch to a stereotype made me kinda shame-laugh, and the last act was an improvement on the first two, but The Gambler is not something I would recommend to, realistically, anyone at all.
Wahlberg's existential crisis is sharply written and briskly paced, but in a film that's a little too aimless.
"The Gambler" is slick, interesting, but ultimately dull and boring. I had so many mixed feelings leaving the screening for this film. Great performances all around, but a premise that has already been done to death. After losing his grandfather, Jim Bennett is faced with his past as all the people he owes money to, come back to haunt him. He has natural luck for gambling but does not know how to get out when he is high. There is some great tension building in the betting portions of the film and whether he will make it out alive, but with hardly a score and a very slow pace, "The Gambler" is kind of a sleeper that will be forgotten in years to come. Not to say that any of the film is particularly bad, it just doesn't do anything new and the script needs some work. Overall, I had a decent time watching this film, but there is nothing special enough about it to warrant a recommendation. I honestly expected more from the director of "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."
Jim Bennett: You got me feeling lucky; I'm putting everything on black...
In a film about high stakes gambling and the crushing weight an addiction (or whatever Mark Wahlberg's character wants to call it), knowing how to balance the tension and frustration of someone constantly risking it all with cinematic skill is very important. Rupert Wyatt's directorial follow-up to Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a drastically different type of film in terms of scale, but this remake of 1974's The Gambler clearly shows that he can balance entertainment with intelligence within the confines of mainstream studio fare. Not that we do not see this from other filmmakers in any given year and it is also not like The Gambler is not without its share of issues, but as much as Wahlberg is the star actor in the film, Rupert Wyatt is really selling himself as the star director.
read the whole review at thecodeiszeek.com
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