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Jim Bennett (Academy Award(R)-nominee Mark Wahlberg) is a risk taker. Both an English professor and a high-stakes gambler, Bennett bets it all when he borrows from a gangster (Michael Kenneth Williams) and offers his own life as collateral. Always one step ahead, Bennett pits his creditor against the operator of a gambling ring (Alvin Ing) and leaves his dysfunctional relationship with his wealthy mother (Academy Award(R)-winner Jessica Lange) in his wake. He plays both sides, immersing himself in an illicit, underground world while garnering the attention of Frank (John Goodman), a loan shark with a paternal interest in Bennett's future. As his relationship with a student (Brie Larson) deepens, Bennett must take the ultimate risk for a second chance.
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The film is good. It is a good film to watch if you are bored and need some escapism in your life, in which the protagonist is probably paralleling your current/past life decisions in some shape or form...
the acting is mediocre. Protagonist is a pseudo-narcissist; he's a dick to everyone except the girl and his own greater sense of self
still fun to watch. but that gets 3 stars not 5
watching suggestion: at a time when you feel like the world is out to get out and you can't make your own luck