The Gambler Review Part 2
Let me expound upon this esoteric concept known as a protagonist. You see in order for an audience to enjoy a movie they need to connect to a character. This is usually the main one but sometimes can be a supporting character. Generally this identifiable character is a good guy who people like, although some great films can be about a bad guy who people sympathize with or who goes through some kind of a change (known to we film professionals as a “character arc”). Once in a while it is a really bad guy but he is that special kind of bad that is actually very cool, or that we hate but like to see bad stuff happen to. Typically when we identify with this character we imagine ourselves in his or her shoes and kind of wish we could be that cool.
Without this connection we honestly don’t care about the characters and therefore don’t give a crap about the drama they are experiencing. The main character of this film, Jim Bennett, is a turd of the highest order. A spoiled little rich kid who has a talent for writing he refuses to use for some idealistic reason. He is a professor who ends up sleeping with one of his students while owing gangsters hundreds of thousands of dollars. He has three major problems: diarrhea of the mouth, a crippling gambling addiction, and is fricking stupid.
That is really why I couldn’t identify with him in the end. Like all rich 1st world people he has the solution to his problems handed to him over and over again and yet keeps on doing the stupidest thing possible (image courtesy of our many novelty t shirts). His mother gives him $260,000 to pay off his gambling debts and he blows it all in Vegas. Someone else lends him the dough and he gambles it again. You can’t put yourself in the shoes of a character you don’t respect and I don’t respect characters who keep sticking their fingers in light sockets while being rich little bastards.