The Best Movie About the Guy Who Takes Revenge for His Dad’s Murder Over Horse Betting

Some movies are just so good that they stay with you long after you’ve seen them. One of these is The Revenant, a recent release from renowned director Alejandro González Iñárritu (21 Laps, Babel). Set in the present day, the movie tells the gripping story of a man (Leonardo DiCaprio) hunting down dangerous animals and seeking revenge for the murder of his family. Although the movie has now ended its theatrical run, it continues to delight audiences on the big and small screens every time it’s shown.

The latest film from Iñárritu is a dark comedy about horse betting called Bad Genius. The movie is based on the real-life story of Michael Gargano (William H. Macy), a professional gambler who in 1989 murdered his father and stepmother in a fit of rage. Since then, he’s been incarcerated for multiple homicides and has earned a reputation as the ‘badguy of the West Coast.’

The film centers around a lawyer (Kate Winslet) who takes on Gargano’s case and decides to use his dysfunctional family as a way to make her name. She wants her clients to have a good impression of her after they’re released from prison so she can win their cases. She recruits a local police officer (Jon Favreau) to help her investigate the murder and bring down Gargano. Using the media to her advantage, she manages to get the public on her side. While she works to prove that he’s not guilty, it’s the investigators who doubt Gargano’s guilt. So it seems like a battle of wits, with no clear resolution in sight.

But while you might not know the outcome of the legal proceedings, you’ll definitely know how things turn out. After years of incarceration, the tables have turned and now it’s Gargano who needs help from the outside. His plan to avenge his father’s murder puts him in direct conflict with the LAPD and it’s members. What follows is an intense series of fights, chases, and stunts that show off the acting chops of the main characters. In the end, with his father’s funeral just a few days away, Gargano has no choice but to ask for forgiveness and it seems like he’s finally learned his lesson.

Why Is Everyone in the Media?

Bad Geniuses references the current trend of famous people jumping into the media fray to get their point of view across. In today’s world, it seems like everyone has an opinion about everything and there’s always someone speaking on behalf of the media on social media. From Donald Trump to Kanye West, everyone has an opinion and everyone has a platform. The result is a deluge of information and misinformation, forcing everyone (especially those in the middle of a conversation) to sift through the noise to find the truth. It’s no wonder that some people feel overwhelmed by all the information while others feel like they’re drowning in it. The media is always looking for a story, and with the internet making content available to anyone with a webcam, people have the ability to create content and spread misinformation at lightning speed.

What Makes This Murder So Frightening?

Unlike most Hollywood crime movies, which are often based on true events, Iñárritu’s films tend to be very personal. For example, his 2006 movie 21 Laps is based on the true story of a man whose father was kidnapped and held for ransom. The son, Jack Laps (John Travolta) is determined to kidnap his father back in exchange for a massive ransom. Like in Bad Geniuses, this movie is also set in the present day and the story follows a local LA news reporter (Nicole Kidman) as she tries to expose a corrupt real estate developer (Travolta). In addition to these personal stories, Iñárritu also uses his movies as a way of exploring his creative influences and the meaning of life. For example, Babel is named after the book of the same name by Jorge Luis Borges and its characters study philosophy, literature, and art. Bad Geniuses, in particular, deals with issues of family dysfunction, pitting father figure Leonardo DiCaprio against his own flesh and blood, his adopted son William H. Macy. The result is something special – both in terms of an engaging story and a glimpse into the director’s mind and process.

The Cast of Characters

Apart from the above, there are many other interesting characters in Bad Geniuses. Chief among these is Jon Favreau, who plays an important role in both Bad Geniuses and The Revenant. Interestingly, for such large roles, he’s almost never seen on screen. Favreau, whose career includes roles in movies like Cowboy Ninja Jet and Shaft, usually plays supporting characters. His presence in both Bad Geniuses and The Revenant indicates that, as the director has said, the actor is more important to him than his usual roles. If you’re not aware of Favreau’s other roles, then you might assume that he’s a small character in the story. This would be sad, because he certainly plays a pivotal role in both films. This is one instance in which being underestimated is actually something to be proud of.


Like many other movies from Iñárritu, Bad Geniuses is an intriguing mashup of genres. Not only is it a crime drama but it’s also an action comedy, a western, and even an opera. This variety is reflected in the cast – aside from DiCaprio, there’s also Macy, who you might know from TV series The Mick, and Kate Winslet, who you might recognize from films such as Titanic and The Reader. Even though the story takes place in LA, the production has an international feel due to its cast of characters. The lead actors aren’t really that far from the style and substance of their roles; it’s almost as if they were born to play these parts.

Another interesting element of Bad Geniuses is the way it deals with revenge. Revenge, as in the Latin word vindicta, means to ‘punish or avenge a wrong done to or suffered by you.’ Many people consider revenge a dangerous and unhealthy obsession and it can certainly be. The problem is that, for those who feel this way, they’re often unable to forgive and forget, as their hurt and anger continues to fester, waiting to be vented. The movie doesn’t promote or glorify revenge but it also doesn’t condemn it, either. What it does do is show us the toll that obsessing over revenge can take on the people—and the society—that they love and care about. The movie illustrates the ugly side of loving something so much that it destroys you from the inside out. For example, when Macy’s character learns of his father’s death, he spirals into a downward spiral of depression and anger, eventually going on a murderous rampage, committing multiple homicides. After one of these crimes, he’s faced with the knowledge that he’ll have to answer for his actions. Although he shows remorse and expresses an interest in starting a new life, his attempts to do so are continually undermined by his wife (Winslet) and his son (DiCaprio).

Even though Iñárritu’s latest movie focuses on a family feud, it’s fair to say that all of Bad Geniuses is about a man’s search for justice. This is a theme that he returns to time and time again. The first two films he directed were also about men—and one of them, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, was set during WWII—who are driven by a desire for justice. This unites the director’s various works into a single, compelling narrative. It seems like no matter what happens in Iñárritu’s life or the news stories that interest him, revenge always seems to be the answer for the main character. Whether we’re talking about his father, his stepmother, or even himself, it’s clear that revenge is something that Mr. Iñárritu lives by. This is most likely why he uses his movies as a way of exploring his views on this subject and why he seems to gravitate toward men as his main source of inspiration.