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.