It’s lazy of me to re-post a review only 40 days after the initial but I’ve done lazier things on a drizzly Sunday while sitting in a cafe. Rupert Wyatt‘s The Gambler is opening four days hence (on Thursday, 12.25) and I can’t think of anything else to post before driving into the city in the light snow and rain…a not-very-friendly December day.
“I know what this sounds like but Rupert Wyatt, William Monahan and Mark Wahlberg‘s The Gambler isn’t as interesting or eloquent as Karel Riesz, James Toback and James Caan‘s The Gambler (’74). It deals faster, flashier cards, but it misses the meditative soulful aspects of the Reisz-Toback version, which is partly to say it takes no pleasure in occasional wins and the power and glory of that.
“The new Gambler is almost entirely about staring into the abyss. Character-wise it delivers a relentless obstinacy and a smug-punk attitude in Mark Wahlberg‘s gambling-addicted character, and story-wise it furnishes a constant cycle of losing and doubling down and then losing a whole lot more, and then borrowing from ugly Peter to pay even-more-terrible Paul and so on. And it blows off those charming tidbits of Fyodor Dostoevsky‘s philosophy that lent a certain spiritual élan to the ’74 version.