CASINO JACKYou can watch the trailer here
Casino Jack, which should not be confused with the documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money, is a scripted adaptation of the events that led to super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff's (Kevin Spacey) rise to his peak before his ultimate downfall. It was directed by George Hickenlooper. The film shows Abramoff as a man who will go to any lengths to aid politicians financially, but that's easily established within the first few minutes of the film. The reason for his rise and then his downfall is the stock he begins to put into his own life by way of raising money for these politicians. I would go into detail about his exploits in the film (which are slyly changed or renamed from the actual events), but the intricacies of it all are just a little too much for me to go into detail here and now.
The screenplay is good, but it's nothing spectacular. We're really just seeing the rise and fall of an extremely influential figure in Washington, D.C. It's just enough to keep the audience engaged when Spacey himself isn't on the screen, but I'll talk about that more in a few moments. We can see the foreshadowing of bad things to come, and if you know even the slightest bit about the real-life story, then you know it doesn't really end well for Abramoff.
The acting in the film is top-notch, and special commendation should be given to Barry Pepper and Jon Lovitz, who play Abramoff's protegé and a type of business partner, respectively. In addition, Kelly Preston gives us a few very good scenes as Abramoff's wife. However, this stage truly belongs to Spacey who takes the role and runs away with it. He creates a character (that apparently is nearly spot-on) of a man who is funny and dorky and serious and thoughtful and well-intentioned and completely without a conscience. And that doesn't even mention the numerous homages to classic movies that he pulls throughout the film - I mean, the guy's fantastic at impressions, in case you didn't already know. Kevin Spacey is the glue that's holding this movie together, and it's no wonder he's been nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance.
Honestly, if there's any reason to watch this film, it's to see Kevin Spacey do what he does so well: completely embody a character and create an on-screen persona that will leave a lasting impression. I doubt it'll garner any nominations come Oscar time, but it's still a fun little film that could be worth a watch. Whether it's better than the aforementioned documentary which tells the true story behind it all, I don't personally know, but when and if I watch it, I'll be sure to inform you. For now, do yourself a favor and marvel in the brilliance that is Kevin Spacey by watching Casino Jack.
Movie Review Summary:
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2010: 2 nominations, 1 win