This is the story of Jack Abramoff, super-lobbyist, and his rapid fall from grace.
A large part of what makes CASINO JACK so much fun to watch is Kevin Spacey’s amazing portrayal of the larger-than-life character of Jack Abramoff. I honestly believe this to be Kevin Spacey’s best on-screen performance since probably K-PAX. From the film’s opening monologue you know you are in for something more than the usual Spacey performance; comedy. The Abramoff character uses his fast talking and comedic prowess to difuse situations and you will find yourself laughing at some of the most outrageous dialog Spacey has ever uttered. Through out the movie Spacey has free range to let his comedic chops shine and he really surprised me, the dude needs to be in more comedies and I am really looking forward to HORRIBLE BOSSES later this summer now. Some ofmy favorite moments in the movie are when he does flawless impressions of movie characters such as Al Pacino’s Michael Corleone or Sly Stallone’s Rocky, they are spot on and he even drops in a couple of amazing president impersonations (His Ronald Reagan had me rolling on the carpet). As ridiculous as Jack Abramoff is portrayed in CASINO JACK you just can’t help but think that the real Abramoff (Yes, this is based on recent true events) was indeed this over-the-top. Seriously, the man produced a couple of Dolph Lundgren flicks, no joke!
You need not rely on just Spacey for a good time though, as the supporting cast is laced with other great performances. Barry Pepper is great as Abramoff’s hot-shot protégé and when his character starts to fall apart he doesn’t hold anything back. Don’t even get me started on Jon Lovitz! Am I the only guy here that wishes he was in more movies? I used to think he was one of those actors best consumed in small portions but he sees a decent amount of screen time in CASINO JACK as Abramoff’s dubious business associate and he is hilarious. His agent needs to get him back into the game and in more movies.
The overall tone of CASINO JACK is something I feel I need to talk about as well. This is a true story that should not have worked like a comedy, it is much like WALL STREET as it is something of an exposé on the current state of things and there was actually a great documentary made a while back on the circumstances around what CASINO JACK was based. So why the hell is CASINO JACK so great? Great direction. This is the late George Hickenlooper’s final film, he sadly passed away before its release, and he brought his vast experience as a documentarian filmmaker (He was the genius behind the amazing APOCALYPSE NOW documentary HEARTS OF DARKNESS: A FILMMAKER’S APOCALPSE) and just has fun with it and that energy carries over to the final product.
CASINO JACK: A Director's Photo Diary: We get a look at the making of CASINO JACK through the lens of the late George Hickenlooper.