KEVIN SPACEY BERRY PEPPER KELLY PRESTON JON LOVITZ
This is another film out of Hollywood that is taking a jab at the recent Bush era, this time with a retelling of the Jack Abramoff saga. Director George Hickenlooper died just before this film was set to release. It was never going to be a widely seen picture, because even the most liberal movie watchers are tired of the seemingly endless political movies talking about an era that is well over. Oscar winner Kevin Spacey was nominated for a Golden Globe for his showy performance as Abramoff, but the recognition stopped there. While the detailed events here are interesting, I don’t get the feeling this script, by Norman Snyder, is all that factual, since much of it is derived from tabloid columns.
Jack Abramoff (Spacey) was a powerful lobbyist in Washington DC, helping certain republicans with certain issues in exchange for big bucks on his part. Holding Bible studies on Capitol Hill and playing the card of family man, Jack became greedier with each deal he made. Jack and right hand man Michael Scanland (Pepper) went from middle class to so wealthy it was obvious something wasn’t right. If you keep the right people happy, things get ignored. However, one pair of red panties, not belonging to Scanland’s fiancée (Rachelle Lefevre), unleashes the power of a woman scorned and Jack’s biggest nightmare comes true.
Whether he should be insulted or not, Spacey was a dead ringer for this role, both in personality and typecast from other performances. This role looks like a breeze for him, as he has built a career on the same kind of sleazy characters. Spacey does have a few good scenes, it just takes a while for him to have them. A large majority of the script focuses on the buildup of snake-like behavior before the bubble bursts. Granted, the bursting of the bubble is more of what we actually do know about Abramoff. But do we really need to see all of his money grubbing in excess detail?
Casino Jack isn’t a blow by blow of Abramoff. If anything, it’s a film out of respect for his cunningness and it almost ends with an “I’ll be back” message to the world. What Hickenlooper does make clear is that nearly everyone in Washington is corrupt (which we already knew). There are some memorable lines like “If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog” and the endless movie quotes Abramoff spouts along with Spacey’s impersonations are quite entertaining. The film certainly creates a perception of a man you likely only knew from the news and will have a more general impact on audience’s mind of this man that Abramoff would actually like.
Final Thought – Spacey’s performance is decent, the movie has a few decent moments.
By: Dustin Chase W.
Editor: Michael Woody