Witty and Gritty Trailer for The Gambler Arrives

It’s been a while since Mark Wahlberg has delivered a real meaty performance, even though last years, Lone Survivor came close, which means that he is returning to his previous Oscar form. Wahlberg is a pretty full on actor, usually playing quite energetic and lively characters, however, with his next film, The Gambler, he may now be the pessimist.

The trailer, while not giving anything away it terms of plot spoilers, does showcase the films gritty, but caper-ish tone.

So what did the trailer hint at in terms of its plot?

Well, we see Wahlberg, in more than one occasion looking like he has got himself into a bit of a situation, as we see him get talked to like a piece of dirt from John Goodman’s character, get pushed up against a garage, and see him tied up in what looks to be a dried up swimming pool, but that doesn’t tell us much other than confirming this isn’t going to be the easiest ride for old Mark. However, thanks to a little searching around on the internet for anything to do with the actual plot, we found that the story will follow Wahlberg’s character (obviously), Jim Bennet who is a literary professor with a gambling addiction, who borrows from his girlfriend and sister when he needs money, which is all ok, until he borrows from some loan sharks (he loan shark probably being John Goodman’s character in the trailer). Then him and his family have to find away to help dear old Mr Bennet before he resorts to something, slightly, ‘extreme’.

The Gambler’s plot may seem familiar to those who were around in 1974 as the original had a very similar premise, and starred James Caan (The Godfather and Misery) as the college professor, but back then the main character was going be the name of Axel Freed.

This adaption is going to be written by The Departed’s William Monahan who will implement his own style and trademark witty dialogue to the freshen up an already popular 70s film. However, the screenwriter of the original movie (James Toback) has criticized the choice to remake The Gambler, as he said in 2011 that is was “rudeness and disrespect” to remake his original, and he didn’t believe a remake would work because it was a story very personal to him, and this was all when Martin Scorsese and Leonardo Di Caprio were attached to the project. Read the full and quite fascinating interview here.

James Caan in the 1974 original.

So, as you guessed already, Scorsese and Di Caprio pulled out, and we know Wahlberg took over the lead role, but what about the director?

If you remember that small summer movie called Dawn of the Planet of the Apes this year, then you may remember the director, Rupert Wyatt, whose knack for telling complex and smart narratives will come in handy here as he explained recently to USA Today about what to expect from his third feature film “This is a man (Jim Bennet) who has everything – wealth, looks, education, but he’s trapped in a gilded cage of privilege. He sets out on this journey to rid himself of all material possessions – to blow it all up – a quest to strip himself to get back to zero.”

It seems to be in trend right now to have central characters on screen whose lives start from the top and we watch them slowly, or sometimes quickly, fall from grace. For instance, last years’ The Wolf of Wall Street, and American Hustle, both showcased these idioms and plot type.

If The Gambler can live up to any of those two films, we will most certainly be in for a treat.

Other stars in the film besides Mark Wahlberg, are Jessica Lange (Cape Fear), Brie Larson (21 Jump Street), Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire), George Kennedy (The Naked Gun trilogy) and of course, the legendary John Goodman (Argo). The film opens in the US on the 19th of December (perhaps in time to be a late Oscar candidate), and the UK gets a release on May the 25th.

Let me know below whether you think The Gambler has enough pedigree to win big at the Oscars.