The Gambler (1997)

"Bad"

The Gambler (1997) Review


The Gambler isn't quite based on Doestoeyevsky's novel of the same name. Rather, it's based on the events surrounding the writing of the novel, intercut with scenes ripped from the book.

The result is two films slapped together. Neither of them are very good on their own, and combined they make little to no sense at all, since the stories bear no resemblance to one another at all.

Michael Gambon is eminently watchable, as always, as Doestoeyevsky, here aging, epileptic, and crabby beond belief, who hires a stenographer (Jodhi May) to write down his rambling thoughts-cum-novel (he had a month to finish it lest he lose all rights to the remainder of his work). The stenographer ends up being more than a scribbler of words -- essentially spending 24 hours a day with the man -- getting in touch with herself only through the weirdness of her employer, and eventually falling in love with the old coot.

Of course, there's a reason you've never read The Gambler, and that's because there just isn't much there. It's vaguely about the self-destruction that gambling can bring about, but what story set in a casino isn't about that? The result is an appalingly bad mishmash of half-finished storylines and odd non-sequiturs, which I can just as well get from U.S. sitcoms. Only they have laugh tracks!

Story aside, The Gambler DVD has one of the worst soundtracks I've ever heard, fading in and out, volume-wise, and jumping around from speaker to speaker without consequence. It would make you long for VHS if the movie itself didn't make you long for a comic book.



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Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

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Director: Károly Makk

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