First, let me say this. I was not in love with this film. I found it very difficult to watch. The Howard Ratner character played by Adam Sandler is just an absolute mess with no endearing qualities. Which makes it an incredible study in films that antagonist are actually a protagonist. Not in the same manner that The Joker is. It is different, but the same kind of film.
Howard Ratner is a mess. I mean he is a mess in a way that you that normally is seen with side characters. You normally don’t see characters with the flaws he has as the main focus of a film. And the flaws he has are brutal to watch. The film is sort of like the train wreck seen in Requiem of a Dream. A self-indulgent gambling addicts usually end up in bad places. This movie proves that to be true. Sometimes a person cant just get out of their own way. That is Howard’s issue. His poor family just rides along and becomes as damaged as he does. It is interesting to watch. Sad, but still interesting.
In closing, this film was not my cup of tea. However, it is worth checking out. Not just because of the buzz, but in particular for one actor’s performance. And I’m not talking Adam Sandler. Not even talking about NBA Legend Kevin Garnett’s role, but Keith Williams Richards incredibly intense role as the strong arm thug, Phil. He was fucking brilliant. Every scene he was in just felt so raw. I hate to see him typecast if he decides to continue acting. However, he was great and had one of my favorite performances of the year. He was a brilliant casting made by the director the Safdie Brothers. Another amazing character who actually had an arc that was one of the bright points of the film. LOL am I actually talking myself into changing my opinion of the film? Well, I guess I am. Anyways, Julia Fox what an appropriate name. She was amazing in every way you could imagine. Her character Julia was a scene-stealer for a different reason. Her motives always seemed dubious as best and the lack of clarity of why she was with Howard last until the final chapter of the film. Ok, I guess in retrospect I do like this film.
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