The Gambler


I did not watch this 2014 movie earlier because I have no interest in anything remotely resembling gambling but I just found out that Mark Wahlberg plays Jim Bennett, an associate professor in English at an university, so I caved in and watched the whole movie last night.

Just as I expected, I didn’t understand a thing about the cards (poker?) and other games played at a gambling establishment and found all those scenes boring. I was shocked that an English lecturer (teaching Shakespeare and the modern novel) could use four-letter “F” words, words like “bro” (when addressing students), comments like s*** and b***s*** liberally in class or just leave abruptly in the middle of a lecture.

I understand that the mood is dark and the protagonist here is not supposed to be likeable. Jim leads a secret double life as a high-stakes gambler and borrows money from a gangster which leaves him, his mother Roberta (Jessica Lange) and student Amy Phillips (Brie Larson) in mortal danger. He is punished and tortured, which is what, I felt, he deserves.

I did not appreciate the way the screeplay (based on a 1974 film) was presented; and I did not understand the use of the twenty-odd songs in the movie, although I enjoyed those I’m familiar with, like Sunny (by Bobby Hebb), I Get A Kick Out Of You (by Cole Porter) and Etude Op 10 No 3 (by Chopin).

I have never been more disappointed by Mark Wahlberg.


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