The 2014 crime drama The Gambler by Rupert Wyatt is based on a 1974 movie, with a similar title. The gambler reaches the audience as a cautionary tale. Although the film received mixed reviews and average ratings, it is bound to make a difference in the lives of the target audience if watched with the correct mindset.

The film paints a picture of the consequences addictive gambling is capable of. It leaves a lingering effect on the viewers about the understanding of the outcome that is linked with the major financial crisis that comes as a byproduct of addictive gambling. The financial instability ushered by the unrealistic expectations of the protagonist Jim (played by Mark Wahlberg), harshly criticizes excessive gambling. The protagonist portrays the role of a young man buried under debts as he continues to fail to pay off his debts while he has conjured up the horror of accumulating loans from various loan sharks and even from people he shares a personal relationship with.

The plotline should be alarming enough for seasoned gamblers to keep their gambling behavior in check as it is widely capable of leading them astray, not only by being trapped under debt but also by taking their own life. While Wahlberg’s performance as the self-destructive academician gained appreciation worldwide, the best presence on screen was held by Jessica Lange.


The story starts with Jim Bennett, a professor of English literature based in Los Angeles indulging in some self-destructive lifestyle. The situation leads him into ruining his interpersonal relationships as he ends up asking for monetary help, eventually falling into advanced debts and being unable to repay them. He fell prey to his addictive tendencies and went on gambling away the small funds he could gather in order to escape and break out of the cycle.

That brought him to a state where he finds himself surrounded by loan sharks and underground gambling ring members threatening his life. Consequently, it is followed by Jim running under the deadline of seven days to pay off the debts. This was one of the much-expected milestones of the story pushing towards the intermission. The entire theme of the film is how Jim manages to pay for his gambling addiction and how that brought him back to square one where in order to satiate his greed, he dug his own grave and paid his way out of it.

How the Film Focuses on Addiction evils

The film may induce a certain level of thrill to the experience of viewers which can add to the fun, but keeping the fun element apart, there is a major message of caution it tries to deliver to the viewers. There are some lessons that can be learned from the film. The first highlight would be the greed that drives Jim into the world of gambling which eventually leads him back to square one where he is broke. Secondly, we often know that gambling issues lead people into generational debt which gets really hard to overcome.

This not only affects the lifestyle of the victim but also his interpersonal relationships and their lives. There are situations where instead of seeking effective help from recognized government bodies like Gamstop, Jim ends up looking for his way out while engaging himself in further life-threatening situations. It is a good example, if you are a GamStop user and you want to play at casinos without GamStop listed on NonGamStopSlots, you need to think twice before playing. This gradually becomes a downward spiral that he cannot escape. As a result, he even comes in contact with some dangerous people leading him to more conflict.

Ways to Escape Addiction of Gambling

The solution to every problem lies in the detection of it. In order to eliminate the gambling addiction, it has to be first acknowledged and steps can be taken according to it before it gets even worse. People can contact the National Council on Problem Gambling or other groups like Gamblers anonymous. Keeping the temptation in check is probably the most important step to overcome gambling problems. Self-exclusion is another effective method to avoid triggers and successfully curb the urges.


Movies are not only for the sake of entertainment but also something to take notes from. The Gambler does not only convey the message of evils related to a gambling addiction but also how it can pull people down to unmeasurable depths.

The film leaves viewers with a lingering thought on what if the situation had occurred in their own lives as it plants a seed of fear in every seasoned punter.

Author: James Berrycloth

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