The Gambler

Bleak drama in which a cynical college professor (Mark Wahlberg) struggles with the consequences of his gambling addiction. As he fends off the competing claims of an underground casino operator (Alvin Ing) and a loan shark (Michael Kenneth Williams), to both of whom he owes large sums, he puts the squeeze on his wealthy mother (Jessica Lange) and woos his most promising student (Brie Larson). Director Rupert Wyatt's remake of Karel Reisz's 1974 film - which also features John Goodman as yet another underworld figure - veers between materialistic pessimism and naive romanticism. The fact that the egotistical, irresponsible main character has no one to blame but himself for the fix he's in, moreover, makes it difficult to expend much sympathy on him.

Watch out for: Occasional violence, upper female nudity in a strip club scene, a handful of profanities, pervasive rough and crude language.

Rated: L, limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling; MPAA: R, restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2015