A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
The movie opens with superlobbyist Jack Abramoff dropping his daughter off at school and receiving a call from his partner that he is about to be arrested on federal charges stemming from fleecing Indian casinos of exorbitant amounts of money on lobbying fees. We then backtrack two years and we see the events leading up to Abramoff's arrest and conviction, as Jack bribes and influences congressmen (including House leader Tom DeLay), takes advantage of Indian tribes and lures them into his hands, and engages in a business venture with a mobbed up businessman and a casino boat owner. Casino Jack is the second film to come out last year regarding Abramoff's exploits (the other is Casino Jack and the United States of Money) and is not a successful retread of recent historical events. The movie seems obssessed with name dropping and doesn't seem to have faith in its story which it could have told better. Barry Pepper is well cast as Abramoff business partner and John Lovitz is a hoot as the mobbed up sleazy businessman, yet Kevin Spacey who begins the film with a powerful monologue that makes you think this will be a return to form for him, settles for a mediocre performance that serves as an excuse for Spacey to do Al Pacino and Ronald Regan impressions and push his leftist agenda. The ending with an imagined speech by Spacey during a Senate hearing comes off as false. Films covering recent history are difficult to make and the filmmakers behind Casino Jack prove it.