Casino Jack


Political drama with Kevin Spacey and Jon Lovitz Discuss this article

A movie version of the Jack Abramoff story may sound like old news, but with the stranglehold of lobbyists in Washington as strong as ever, maybe the timing isn’t so bad. Not to be confused with Alex Gibney’s documentary Casino Jack and the United States of Money, it’s as slick as one presumes Abramoff (an almost unbearably smug Spacey) would want. The movie is as devoted to myth-making as a man who – in the film, at least – attempts to escape indictment by pitching a Biblical epic to Paramount; as phony as a self-proclaimed devout Jew who, despite claiming to keep kosher, happily signed on for sushi dinners.

Directed by the late George Hickenlooper, the movie holds one’s attention by hewing closely to the usual gangster-businessman biopic conventions. Even by standards of the genre, though, Norman Snider’s screenplay – which attempts to disguise undigested chunks of biographical and contextual information as dialogue (‘They’re calling us the new Watergate, Jack!’; ‘Remember that time you brought Pavarotti to Brandeis? No one thought you could pull it off’) skirts the edge of embarrassment. There’s as little substance here as there was in Abramoff’s casino deals. Still, there were worse shams in the past year.

By Ben Kenigsberg
Time Out Doha,

Casino Jack

  • Duration: 108
  • Released: Thu, 20 Jan
  • Classification: 18+
  • Language: English
  • Website
  • Director: George Hickenlooper
  • Stars: Kevin Spacey, Ruth Marshall, Graham Greene, Hannah Endicott-Douglas, Barry Pepper, John Robinson, Jason Weinberg, Spencer Garrett, Yok Come Ho, Anna Hardwick, John David Whalen

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