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Mixed or average reviews - based on 24 Critics What's this?

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5.4

Mixed or average reviews- based on 17 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Inspired by true events that are too over-the-top for even the wildest imaginations to conjure, CASINO JACK lays bare the wild excesses and escapades of Jack Abramoff. Aided by his business partner Michael Scanlon, Jack parlays his clout over some of the world’s most powerful men with the goal of creating a personal empire of wealth and influence. When the two enlist a mob-connected buddy to help with one of their illegal schemes, they soon find themselves in over their heads, entrenched in a world of mafia assassins, murder and a scandal that spins so out of control that it makes worldwide headlines.(ATO Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 24
  2. Negative: 2 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Dec 30, 2010
    80
    Though Casino Jack never lets its protagonist off the hook for his misdeeds, it does underline the hypocrisy of those politicians who were content to take his money but then ran for cover in February 2004 when the Washington Post began to expose his fleecing of six different Indian tribes.
  2. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Dec 17, 2010
    75
    One of the highlights of Casino Jack is Abramoff doing dead-on impressions of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronald Reagan, among others.
  3. Reviewed by: Kate Taylor
    Jan 28, 2011
    63
    The facts really get in the way of the portrait here, and we are left hungry for more Spacey and more insight into a man with the hubris to wonder if he has disappointed God.
  4. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Dec 16, 2010
    50
    Though the film is peppered with one-liners tailor-made for Spacey to sling with stinging effect, it doesn't so much leave you laughing as just weary, and wishing this weren't a true story at all.
  5. Reviewed by: Kimberley Jones
    Jan 6, 2011
    50
    Despite his character's fondness for mugging and mouthing like Michael Corleone, Spacey (and by extension, his director and writer Norman Snider) can't quite catch the operatic wallop of Corleone's arc, possibly because the film is played top-to-bottom like a caprice.
  6. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Jan 6, 2011
    50
    Casino Jack fails at its most critical mission: Laying out in clear detail exactly how and when Abramoff broke the law.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael O'Sullivan
    Dec 22, 2010
    25
    That's the problem with the whole movie, which lies halfway between poker-face documentary and broad farce.

See all 24 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. Jan 2, 2011
    10
    One of the best films I saw in 2010. Abramoff is a fascinating figure who was too smart and well connected to be dismissed as some vogue miscreant. Kevin Spacey does a tremendous job with the character, and while the audience and the broader public may never truly understand the man, this movie successfully draws the viewer into his world. The story of Abramoff is a powerful reminder of the institutionalized sleaze at the highest levels of government, and Hickenlooper is unrelenting in exposing this underbelly. Expand
  2. Jan 1, 2011
    10
    Igonore the mixed reviews and go see this flm. It is a stunner. Great story and terrific performances. Just be prepared to pay attention - it's definitely not a "sit back and let your mind go" popcorn flick. Expand
  3. Dec 24, 2010
    7
    Fun show if divorced from reality. In reality, a reminder of the corruption and who really controls our government. I think Kevin Spacey did an excellent job. Also, nice cameo by my Mayor and Governor-elect in his late cousin's movie. Expand
  4. Jan 22, 2011
    5
    If I had known this film was going to be campy instead of serious, I would not have gone. A disappointment considering the seriousness of the subject. Spacey needs an ego check as this almost becomes a B movie. Expand
  5. Dec 19, 2010
    4
    Based on a real story and a real documentary releasing the same year, Casino Jack is just another fictional version of this fascinating story. Jack Abramoff, a super-lobbyist in DC, who's job is to influence the congress in voting the way he wants. In return, Jack gets a sum of money from the special interest group that the voting benefited. This job is perfectly legal and the law even states that Jack can accept the money from the groups. But in order to get the voting the way he wanted, Jack has to offer sporting events, private jets, hookers, vacations, and money to the congressmen that are willing to participate. THIS is perfectly illegal. In doing all of this most of his life, Jack found himself in a ditch once in awhile and decided to take the wrong path down the road. Performing illegal activities, involving in murders, and bribing congressmen. By the end, Casino Jack told the story of Jack Abramoff but did not tell a good one. Sure this is a fascinating story, but director George Hikenlooper added unnecessary elements to the story that made it a dull and uninteresting political crap. Kevin Spacey's Golden Globe nominated performance did help with the film's uneasy story-telling, but as good as it is, Casino Jack seems to fall flat while trying to shoot really high. OscarBuzz: Kevin Spacey, Best Actor (A slight chance) Expand
  6. Dec 23, 2010
    4
    I'm tired of Kevin Spacey a bit... every role seems to be done the same now. Ok story.. and it is nice to see a movie that might wake up a few people to how horrible government is. Things are not done for the majority......the corrupt and big business push "their" laws through. Expand
  7. Mar 10, 2011
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Bill Maher is right. Be more cynical. If you think our government is still a democracy in its purest sense, you don't know Jack. If you believe our politicians serve their constituents with sound moral compasses, you simply haven't been paying attention. In some cases, they don't serve them at all. Pay to play, baby. Meet Tom DeLay, your worst nightmare. Back when he was in office, the former majority leader from Texas had the bright idea of turning our government over to market forces, and in the documentary "Casino Jack: T.U.S.O.M.", DeLay makes it perfectly clear that he would do it all over again, even though free enterprise, synonymous with capitalism, is responsible for what currently ails our country, still reeling from the unprecedented collapse of its financial institutions. When DeLay deregulated campaign financing(what one analyst describes as "legalized bribery"), he opened up Pandora's Box, setting the stage for the G.-L.-B. Act which turned our banks into gambling halls. In the non-fictionalized account of super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, DeLay looked straight into the camera's eye and lied through his teeth, brazenly declaring, evidence to the contrary, that he treated the convicted felon no differently from any other special interest advocate. Taking its cues from the Alex Gibney documentary, "Casino Jack" shows without the shadow of a doubt that the self-proclaimed "deregulation nut" knew Abramoff. On a trip to the Mariana Islands, home of a thriving garment industry that Abramoff had protected from outside intervention, DeLay says, "These people seem happy," while inspecting a factory, a seeming extension of American-style democracy. It's not until we're back stateside during a K. Street party that we learn, through a reporter's question posed to Jack, about the island factories being described as "sweat shops and rape camps" by watchdog groups speaking on behalf of the low-paid workforce. Although the film isn't called "Island Jack", what Abramoff concocted and unleashed upon this Pacific chain deserves a film of its own, and more importantly, the fallout shouldn't be short-shrifted with a single line as being the final word on the human rights violation matter. Like DeLay, "Casino Jack" itself avoids any contact with the indentured seamstresses, as if the filmmaker too was bought off with Abramoff's hush money. As a result of the film choosing not to document the systemic abuse that ran rampantly through these textile-based dictatorships, "Casino Jack" could remain an amiable comedy, perhaps out of an affinity for Jason Reitman's "Thank You For Smoking", another film that didn't fully actualize the ramifications of a lobbyist's handiwork. The filmmaker wouldn't be able to get away with humanizing Abramoff had he depicted an instance of employer/employee rape. This is not a John Sayles film, or Richard Linklater's "Fast Food Nation". In the 2009 doc, we hear the story about a factory worker trying to sell his kidney as a means of returning home, but even this highly-touted film draws the line at hammering a death nail in Abramoff's public image, since it leaves out the report that the lobbyist helped write a Texas congressman's speech which attacked the credibility of a Marianan teen sex worker's testimony about her island holiday. Like the documentary, "Casino Jack" has a sense of fair play, but here's the rub: this Harvard-trained former Young Republican is not a fair man, and shouldn't be accorded any special considerations. Back in the day, he and DeLay forged a friendship that would result in the two men irrevocably laying waste to the principles of our founding fathers. The "Gimme Five" scheme that Jack and his right-hand man Michael Scanlon hatched and implemented like corporate cowboys upon the casino-owning Indian tribes was unscrupulous and certainly deserves its allotted screen time, but unlike the Chippewa elders who owned multi-million businesses, the Southeast Asian immigrants had nothing. Instead of their plaintive cries, we hear Ms. Abramoff's anguished sobs, and Jack musing aloud, "I let down God," without a trace of satirical self-awareness. The film likes him. That's why "Casino Jack" fails to fully indict Jack as a villain. We don't need a fair and balanced film about a sociopath. There's still too many uncynical babes in the woods out there. Unlike Hustler publisher Larry Flint, who admits he's the worst, due to the abetment of the film's relatively positivistic spin on the lobbyist's persona, Abramoff can't do the same, when he surreptitiously passes off the blame to the system in a protracted daydream at his senate panel hearing, where he bursts into Al Pacino-like theatrics, screaming, "You're out of order," like in Norman Jewison's "And Justice For All". In his twisted mind, Abramoff fancies himself as a folk hero. Does "Casino Jack" feel the same way, too? Expand

See all 8 User Reviews

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