In today’s world, it’s rare to find a movie that doesn’t have some kind of social or political agenda. It seems like every other flick tries to shove some kind of message down your throat, but sometimes, an agenda-free movie can be quite the treat. Case in point: The Gambler, a 2013 American sports drama film directed by Bill Hader. If you’re looking to brush up on your sports knowledge or simply want to take a trip down memory lane, read on!
A mysterious, hooded gambler (played by Robert Duvall) emerges from the desert and sets up shop in the town of Trinity, Texas. He opens up a bookmaking operation and makes a name for himself by winning huge wagers from local folks. But he’s also causing trouble for the town’s mayor (played by Sam Elliot), who’s looking to shed his political skin and become a more traditional, hands-on, mayor.
The problem is: The gambler doesn’t dole out his winningnings equally – in fact, he usually keeps most of them for himself. The more the mayor tries to shut down the bookmaking operation, the more it attracts attention from the wrong places. Complicating matters further is the fact that the mayor’s daughter (played by Anna Kendrick) is in love with the town’s reverend (played by Guy Burt III), who’s also secretly in love with the mayor’s wife (played by Harriet Vance). So there’s a lot going on in this small town, and it often feels like a messy mixture of greed, lust, and religion that bubble under the surface.
Duvall won a Best Actor Oscar for his role as the mysterious, hooded gambler in this movie. The film’s screenwriter, John Hodge, won a Writers Guild of America Award for his work on this project. Duvall and Hodge also collaborated on the screenplay for the 2014 movie Tiger Town. Both films are inspired by true events that took place in 1936 in Trinity, Texas.
This is the first time that Duvall has appeared in a leading role in a Hollywood film. He is most famous for playing a recurring, iconic role as Granddad Egghead on the hit television series All Souls Day. Duvall has also had a long and illustrious career playing crops, farmers, and country folks, going back to 1940’s The Outlaw Josey Wales.
The Gambler was released on December 4th, 2013, to strong reviews from critics. It currently holds a score of 69 on Metacritic, which represents “generally favorable reviews”, and is ranked #48 on Amazon’s bestseller list for Hollywood sports films.
If you’re looking for a story that mixes a little bit of everything, look no further. It’s a mishmash of social issues, romance, religion, and sports, which should make for an engaging movie viewing experience. The performances are excellent, the direction is solid, and the script is snappy – not to mention that the soundtrack is fantastic. It’s Hollywood’s answer to Shane Black’s The Dark Horse: A story of an underdog sports figure who goes head to head against the establishment. If you’re looking for a story about a humble man who’s trying to make it big, you can’t go wrong with this one.