Casino Jack review

I doubt such a scandalous pair as Jack Abramoff, manipulator of politicians, and Michael Scanlon, his collaborator, will ever come across as funny to the public.  Kevin Spacey’s eerie twist on humour casts a dark shadow on “Casino Jack”. Perhaps that is due to its proximity to our lives, with his illegal stunts on Capitol Hill.

Although there are exceptions, such as Michael Douglas’ character in “Wall Street”, it is near impossible to convince audiences to endear themselves to such manipulators through fast talk, twisting reality. An additional hurdle to the film was the documentary released earlier in the year, “Casino Jack and the United States of Money”, by Alex Gibney. This film was likewise shunned by audiences. On top of all this, Abramoff completed his time in prison earlier this month.

Barry Pepper, as Scanlon, and Kevin Spacey, as Abramoff, want to get in synch with the roles, but just cannot quite connect. Instead, they come across as two versions of the same person, smooth talking, quick stepping, law evading criminals who are soon caught in their own deceit.