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Casino Jack and the United States of Money

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This portrait of Washington super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, from his early years as a gung-ho member of the GOP political machine to his final reckoning as a disgraced, imprisoned pariah, confirms the adage that truth is indeed stranger than fiction. A tale of international intrigue involving casinos, spies, sweatshops and mob-style killings, this is a story of the way money corrupts our political process. Oscar®-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney illuminates the way politicians' desperate need to get
elected and the millions of dollars it costs may be undermining the basic principles of American democracy. Infuriating, yet undeniably eye-opening and entertaining, CASINO JACK is a saga of greed and corruption with a cynical villain audiences will love to hate.


As he proved in Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney knows how to transform creative bookkeeping into compelling drama without dumbing things down. In his follow-up to Gonzo, a portrait of rabble-rouser Hunter S. Thompson, Gibney takes on disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff (Stanley Tucci provides his voice in readings). Gibney begins with the Mob-style murder of a one-time associate before backtracking to Abramoff's days as chairman of the College Republicans, where he rubbed shoulders with Karl Rove and Ralph Reed--and impressed Ronald Reagan. Even as a student, however, there were signs of trouble as he laundered money through charities, a pattern he would repeat throughout the decades, always on the lookout for new loopholes. Gibney proceeds through his dealings with the Contras, an Angolan dictator, Saipan sweatshops, and Indian casinos (the debacle in Angola led him to produce the right-wing shoot-'em-up Red Scorpion). Along the way, Abramoff ensnared lawmakers and government officials in his web as they traded political favors for campaign financing. As Bob Ney's chief of staff, Neil Volz, puts it, Abramoff "could talk a dog off a meat truck." When his house of cards finally came crashing down, Reed, Ney, Volz, Tom DeLay, and numerous others fell with him (all but Reed appear in the film). As in his other documentaries, Gibney juices the action with music cues that keep things lively, even if some of his choices are a little too on the nose, like Howlin' Wolf's "Back Door Man." --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay
  • Directors: Alex Gibney
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: September 14, 2010
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003L20IGU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #87,471 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Casino Jack and the United States of Money" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Swanson VINE VOICE on September 27, 2010
Format: DVD
Though not as engrossing as Gibney's Enron doc, Casino Jack lays out the facts and lets Abramoff's almost surreal greed speak for itself. Some call this one-sided, but considering the well-documented facts, emails, and other endlessly incriminating evidence that Abramoff and pals handed the world on a platter, Gibney seems kind here.

There are so many politicians who were taking dirty money from Jack, and giving it to him as well. This film could have been a C-Spannish ten hours. Instead it just sticks to the basics of Abramoff and his Tom DeLay connections. That DeLay can sit in interviews for this film and smile while essentially saying he did little that was wrong is almost unbelievable, and the hard evidence presented throughout of his endlessly criminal behavior makes it more so. His and Abramoff's and so many other politicians' support of evil sweatshops and sex abuse in Saipan is shown clearly here, and it's ugly stuff.

Scanlon and Reed still have zero shame, apparently, though Kidan shows some in interviews. That DeLay still has no remorse for what he helped do to all those families only shows how much further Gibney could and should have taken this film. Wussup, Tommy the (laughably crappy) Dancer? So only your brand of merkun family counts? Kill and rape the rest?

Frankly, DeLay deserves his own film, and one a lot tougher than Casino Jack. As much as I enjoyed CJ, after a while it felt too breezy. But then again, who could stomach an honestly hard-eyed look at the long litany of serious crimes these criminals committed in the name of God and Country(TM)?
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This DVD is a must for anyone who votes in this country. It gives an inside look at what is going on with our elected officials; and until MONEY is taken out of the voting process; then our country will only be for the very wealthy and those who pay the politicians. This is a very good documentary.
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Format: DVD
CASINO JACK AND THE UNITED STATES OF MONEY! This documentary will crack you up as long as you don't realize the joke is on you, if you're a United States citizen whose elected representatives answer to lobbyists instead of you. Like a big pile of horse manure draws all the flies on the farm, when it comes to wheeler-dealer Jack Abramoff's mound of money laying before Congress and other Washington, D.C. power brokers, get out of the way or risk being squashed by the stampede of the squalid.

Not that CASINO JACK plays the sociopathic behavior of individuals such as Abramoff, Tom DeLay and Ralph Reed for straight out laughs. Rather, its tone often gets almost as bleak as another work of its director Alex Gibney, TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE (Academy Award for Best Documentary a couple of years back). But unlike that grim gem, CASINO JACK's recount of incidents such as Abramoff lobbying partner Michael Scanlon fooling a lifeguard into fronting a money-laundering storefront is, in the sickest way, funny.

If you view CASINO JACK on D.V.D., make sure you watch the bonus selection where director Gibney talks about Jack Abramoff. It complements the feature, rounding out what made a man who could bench press 500 pounds at the height of his athletic youth into someone so beaten when the law catches up he goes down without a fight, pleading guilty to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public officials.

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Format: DVD
"Casino Jack and the United States of Money" is a tell-all documentary on Jack Abramoff and dynamics of lobbyists keeping Washington DC politicos in power. Money is the answer and the question is how to raise it. Alex Gibney, who also produced "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" narrates this film showing how American Politics hit new lows. Against the idealistic backdrop of the movie "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" , the murder of a casino owner opens a Pandora's box of money laundering, kick-backs, bribes, and insatiable greed.

Jack Abramoff was sentenced to jail in 2006, but he is just the tip of the iceberg. The story leaves you with mouth open as sweat shops in the Mariana Islands are created, cheating Native Americans of their own gambling revenue, and using "campaign donation money" in six figure amounts to give people access to Tom Delay and George W. Bush among just a few corrupt actions.

The story also gives Abramoff's background and his goal of deregulating government. DeLay also did not like regulations because in his first business of pest control, he could no longer use DDT. Abramoff and Ralph Reed developed a relationship, both belonged to Young Republicans in college. Ralph Reed used religious fundamentalism in their mutual dealings. Two-faced to the hilt they made big money through casinos, while preaching against the evils of gambling.

Overall it is a must read and it begs the question - what can the average person do? Can we assume the people in Washington are ethical and taking democracy as serious as Mr. Smith when he went to Washington?

After seeing this you rightfully wonder who is not corrupt, and how can it be prevented if our leaders have to prostitute themselves to get campaign money to win?
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