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Starring: Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, Brie Larson & Michael K. Williams.
Directed by: Rupert Wyatt
I’m not a gambler at all. The only card games that I play/ I know are Snap and Bloody Mary. That’s it. The only time I ever gamble is when I play those 10p slot machines down the arcades. Oh the thrills! I was attracted to this film because of the involvement of Mark Wahlberg and John Goodman, two actors that I admire. Plus, I was hoping it would teach me a few hints if ever I fancy a game at the roulette table!
Literature professor Jim Bennett (Wahlberg) has a server gambling addiction fuelled by this opinion of the world as either having it all or nothing. Unlike me, he’s not going to pop down the local arcade to play on 10p slot machines; he would rather gamble tens of thousands of dollars on various card games. Always the risk-taker, Bennett bets it all when he borrows from Neville (Williams) and offers his own life as collateral. Jim considers borrowing money from another Frank (Goodman) another loan shark, to consolidate his debts and buy himself some time, but refuses to do so after Frank demands he admit that he is not a man. Time isn’t on his side, his debts are mounting. Perhaps refusing Frank’s offer isn’t an option after all.
As I say, I’m not a gambler so the gambling terms just went over my head. As much as I admire John Goodman as an actor, I just don’t like him in villainous roles. Don’t get me wrong, he was great here, but he’s too damn lovable to be hated. He’s Fred Fucking Flintstone for crying out loud. It’s a shame that he wasn’t used as much as I would have liked to have been. His performance was fantastic and he really made you take notice with his blunt, charismatic speeches. He’s also involved in a few topless scenes so there’s something for the women I guess. Wahlberg was fine; just felt he was miscast as a teacher though. It was well-paced overall with some memorable moments but it’s nothing to shout about. It was a movie that not everyone is going to like because not everyone is going to relate to Mark Wahlberg’s character. It was a hard movie to understand.
Just like the gambling theme of the movie, seeing the movie will be a gamble for you.
Rating: *** (Aye, it’s canny like)