Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Gambler Review - 3 Stars

Mark Wahlberg stars in a remake of the 1974 James Caan thriller “The Gambler.”  Wahlberg plays an addict — he’s got to have the action.  The tension builds as we watch him win and squander fortunes with the turn of a playing card.  As he goes down deeper he borrows from more dangerous sources.  John Goodman oozes menace as the king of the loan sharks.  We meet him shaving his head.  I love that touch.  Jessica Lange makes a bristly appearance as Wahlberg’s wealthy mother, thoroughly disgusted with her son.  Her visit to a bank for a chunk of cash to save Wahlberg’s hide crackles — as the over matched bank officer asks for ridiculously mundane information including two forms of ID.  Bree Larson doesn’t get a lot to do but she’s fine as Wahlberg’s love interest.  The 1974 original probably did this better,  but the remake captures the spark movies had back then, and that’s a compliment.  Does it deliver what it promises?  Gritty thriller.  Is it entertaining?  Some electric moments.  Is it worth the price of admission?  You bet.