Check out our review of this remake of the 1974 classic film of the same name about literature professor and gambler Jim Bennett whose dual life puts him on the wrong side of those who accept no excuses. Further complicating his situation is his strained relationship with those close to him. Will Bennett risk his life for a second chance?
The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Paramount - 2014
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 110 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish, French, Portuguese
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Michael Kenneth Williams, Jessica Lange
Directed by: Rupert Wyatt
Music by: Jon Brion
Written by: William Monahan
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 28, 2015
"The only way out is all in"
Mark Wahlberg stars as Jim Bennett, a brilliant professor leading a secret double life as a high-stakes gambler. When Jim is forced to borrow money from a notorious gangster, he places the lives of those he loves in mortal danger. With time running out, he must enter the criminal underworld and risk everything to keep from losing it all.
The Gambler is a remake of the 1974 film of the same name starring James Caan. I haven’t seen that film in years but remember it as being quite decent with good acting and an intelligent script. This remake builds upon the same foundation with a contemporary narrative that more or less sticks close to the original in terms of theme. The plot revolves around a loner leading a by day/by night dual life who is set upon a destructive course where high stakes gambling takes him dangerously to the brink. He pushes away those close to him while gravitating toward nefarious types seeking to prey upon recklessness.
I honestly wasn’t expecting much from this film and while it doesn’t quite resonate as well as the original I found it to be fairly entertaining. As with the original the narrative contains thought provoking themes surrounding the concept of those seeking escape by engaging in destructive behavior and how it isn’t until they reach the precipice that they realize that isn’t the answer. The Gambler isn’t high-brow filmmaking and mainly sticks to base level characters and point to point storytelling which works quite well. There is an enriching darkness to the proceedings that is enhanced by the stylish nature of screenplay and solid performances by star Mark Wahlberg and the supporting ensemble around him. At 110 minutes little time feels wasted and director Rupert Wyatt does a great job keeping focus on point. All in all I found The Gambler to be an entertaining film that did a satisfactory job in living up to the original James Caan classic.
The rating is for language throughout, and for some sexuality/nudity.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency effects:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
- DSU Rating * (non-rated element):
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black Level/Shadow Detail:
- Color Reproduction:
The Gambler comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.
Colors are effectively used in this film to help set the tone/setting based upon the mood of the scene and characters within it. The chroma range isn’t diverse but hues can vary from being sullen and inanimate to warm and inviting. Skin tones are appropriately bland with natural highlights and descriptive variation. Images onscreen were exquisitely detailed and sharp with superb depth of field and visible texture during wide angle shots. Contrast is spot on and blacks are deep with revealing delineation that provides excellent perceptibility during scenes shot at night or in lower lighting. The video has a clean, pristine quality that enhanced dimensionality and occasionally provided a looking through a window effect.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround mix features dialogue that is full bodied with defining tonal characteristics and prominent soundstage position. High level detail is readily apparent as subtle sound effects, music and voices are rendered with superior clarity and depth. There is little call for active surround activity and extended dynamics however there is frequent use of atmospheric sounds that utilize the entire soundstage in support of the exterior/interior venues depicted in the film. The end result is a “sneaky” good audio presentation that renders the soundtrack’s elements with aplomb.
- (HD) Mr. Self Destruct: Inside The Gambler – 14 minute featurette
- (HD) Dark before dawn: The descent of The Gambler – 16 minute featurette
- (HD) Changing the game: Adaptation – 9 minute featurette
- (HD) Dressing the players: Costume design – 7 minute featurette
- (HD) 6 Deleted/extended scenes
- Bonus DVD
- Digital HD Copy
The Gambler is a contemporary remake of the 1974 classic film starring James Caan. While it may not resonate as effectively as the original it has plenty to offer and makes for a worthy addition to the genre. It comes to Blu-ray from Paramount Home Entertainment featuring excellent high definition video and sound accompanied by a complimentary supplement package that looks behind the scenes. The Gambler is well worth your time and deserves a spot near the top of your Blu-ray rental queue.
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