If you’re a Marky Mark fan, you’ve probably seen it. If you’re not, you’ve still probably seen the 2014 adaptation of an even older version of the script. Also, you probably liked the film in boldfaced opposition to the critics who sneered at the film. Those on the snobbish end of the film viewing spectrum stated comments like “The Gambler” is yet another Hollywood remake, and, as usual, it’s not as good as the original.” Other explanations are even less favorable. But I, for one, beg to differ. I vehemently urge you to go check out the film and make your own opinion of the film.
Of course, I’m biased, and I’m a fan of the Jim Bennet ethos. Jim Bennett, who’s played by Mark Wahlberg, is one who is drawn to one of the more popular casino games – cards. And when it comes to this particular casino game, Bennett is in a class all his own. See, Bennet is not interested in an average life, he’s not interested in scrimping and saving, and making small wins that slowly add up over time.
Bennet is an ‘all in’ kind of person.
To me, that’s what makes the movie compelling.
Many people flock to suburbs and aim to minimize risk in all forms and minimize opportunity in the process. Bennett wants to go for gold in every aspect of his life from his day job as a literature professor to when he’s a high stakes gambler at night. Life isn’t too pleasant for him at the early stages of the film, but then it gradually builds up to him connecting the dots and going for that big win at the end. Of course, he’s runs into a lot of trouble on the way.
Does he succeed?
That’s for you to find out, but let’s find out more about the plot and some compelling scenes from the film.
The Plot of The Gambler
Bennett is always about risk. The problem is that you can embrace risk and find that it turns against you, leaving you with little to no rewards. The higher the risk, the higher the potential crash. We follow Bennett as he reels from his previous risk-taking mistakes, and he progresses to get more chips to buy back into his alluring games of risk.
He gets a bit bolder in the film and instead of just risking capital and assets as collateral, wagers his life instead, all for another chance to win big.
Now, he’s really in the mud.
He’s got to figure out how he’ll buy time, survive and obtain the winnings that he desires. We see Bennett interact with creditors, illegal gambling ring operators, paternalistic loan sharks, and athletes.
The film has notable actors like Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, Jessica Lange, and Brie Larson.
“I want unlimited things. I want everything.A real love. A real house. A real thing to do every day. I’d rather die if I don’t get it.”
That’s essentially one of the critical premises of the film. Have it all, and have something real throughout each day. That’s a line that encompasses the whole film and is something that many can resonate with at the end of the day. That’s why 81% of the general audience loved the movie, while critics who live in the abstract wanted more out of the film.
“The only thing worth doing is the impossible. Everything else is gray.”
Come on! That’s a fine line. No one wants to live an average life but find themselves settling due to fear or other aspects of life. You don’t remember the Joneses. You remember people like Neil Armstrong or Kobe Bryant or other people who pushed the boundaries. People look to those who add color in a monotonous and gray world.
“You get a house with a 25 year roof, an indestructible Jap-economy box, you put the rest into the system at three to five percent to pay your taxes and that’s your base, get me? That’s your fortress of solitude.”
This a line from a loan shark to Jim Bennett on the aspect of having some margin of safety. The point is that it is easy to get caught up in building a margin of safety while losing out on the bigger picture.
Finally, we see that Bennett, with a killer line “I see things in terms of victory or death, and not just victory but total victory. And it’s true: I always have. It’s either victory, or don’t bother.” These are just a couple of the lines that make this a great film to watch but there’s a whole host of lines I didn’t include here. Check out the movie, The Gambler is worth a shot.