This is not a review, only a question. Why the money used in the film is blue ? Is the story supposed to be taking place in Canada ? Well, it's obvious that it's not taking place in Canada.
The vice of gambling inspired quite a number of literary and cinematographic works, starting maybe with Dostoevsky's novel which shares the name with the films that it inspired, until the almost masterpiece movie "House of Games" written and directed by David Mamet. "The Gambler" directed by Rupert Wyatt is not an adaptation of the great Russian writer's short novel but rather a remake of a 1974 film that featured James Caan in the lead role. There are enough reasons to watch this 2014 version of the story with Mark Wahlberg in the lead role, even if you have seen or not the older film.The film history does not lack heroes (or anti-heroes) who lead a more than honorable life and/or have a respected profession at day, while spending their nights in vices of all sorts. Most of the characters of this kind are women, but there are also men like Jim Bennett, a decent and passionate professor of literature and novel writer who spends his free time in gambling crazily money that he does not have, borrowing from all possible bad guys, ruining the trust of his mother and of his girlfriend. At some point in time the viewers ask themselves whether he is playing a survival or a suicidal game, as he invites trouble and seems immune to the any danger or concern as soon as he walks the door of a gambling place. The response is in the character of gamblers which escapes reason (there are a few lines that I suspect were borrowed from Dostoevsky). His chance to survive depends upon getting rid of the addiction.Rupert Wyatt's "The Gambler" is written more like an action movie than as a character study. At some point in time the hero borrows money from three different mob groups, and uses the cash to cheat each other in order to try to save his skin. The influence of the gangsters movies of the 70s and 80s is visible, with reverences to Coppola or Sidney Lumet. The atmosphere, the darkness and even the humor are present in the right doses. While the action is quite satisfying the quality of the film derives mostly from the actor work of Mark Wahlberg who succeeds in this film to deliver one of the best roles in his career, with an intense rendition of the combination of the emptiness and despair of the intelligent hero who is aware about the falling spiral path of his life, but has a hard time fighting to prevent it. Supporting roles are played by fine actors like Jessica Lange, John Goodman, and George Kennedy (his last movie!). I liked less the very final which may be a little to conventional cinema relative to the rest of the film, but the overall impression is better than expected.
Decent film, except for the end. Much better ending for Wahlberg to have lost everything with a final spin of Roulette, and then have been killed by his Mafioso-style lenders. Which is what the movie wants you to believe...Wahlberg has a death wish.Instead, after winning the BIG money with a single spin of the Roulette wheel we see Wahlberg running through the city to visit his student/girlfriend. Ouch! Does anyone really believe he now stopped gambling?Of course not. I suspect he ran through the streets in excitement because he figured a more sure-fire way to gamble, namely bribe players into fixing sports games. Either ending could have been a better fit then telling Goodman, 'Fuck You," and running off to see his student/girlfriend. No real imagination with that one, just sudsy Hollywood.Where is Martin Scorsese when we need him?
This film on contrast to the title is not about a gambler but of a man on the path of self destruction due to his personal problems/conflicts.The beauty of the film is the intelligent narration of the film which makes us keep thinking about the movie even after it is over.We need stories like this to understand the complexities of the mind and you need to understand the protagonist to see the beauty of this film.I'll give it an 8/10.