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.