Movie Magic: Gambling On The Perfect Film To Watch - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Movie Magic: Gambling On The Perfect Film To Watch

The darker the movie, the better it is?

Casino movies can be an easy source of entertainment for those that want fun, thrills and a look at the glam of Vegas. From the original version of Oceans 11 through to National Lampoons Vegas Vacation and the recently released Will Farrell film The House, these examples of casino films are very much tongue in cheek and wouldn’t be your Oscar worthy type of movies, given the lack of substance they have as an art form.

However, some casino films do take the concept of risk and give it a tweak to give viewers a different perspective than the ‘standard’ idea of gambling in film. Movies like:
  • 21
  • Bad Lieutenant
  • Hard Eight
  • The Croupier
  • Runner Runner
That last title, Runner Runner, is a film well worth highlighting because it is the only casino film that uses modern concepts, with the trigger of the story taking place inside of an online casino. A number #1 in the New Zealand box-office, which is no surprise given how much the Kiwi’s like their gambling, if you want to re-imagine how Runner Runner would have actually worked you can simply find the source of the action here at

For those who are after something more darker, though - such as thrilling themes of violence, crime, and greed - it can be found within casino movies.

I Like My Movies Dark!
The idea that the game is a taboo remains the same when making films. It’s all about those personal demons in movies like Bad Lieutenant, and the not so smart business practice in Casino by Martin Scorsese. This theme was created to represent sin, and for those that gamble it may mean they can come out at the end of it with some redemption, usually at the cost of someone’s life, be it jail or murder. The set-ups are usually the same - any movie opening with a betting scene, no good will come of it in the end. And that leads into the next 90 minutes of the movie. Just like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, for example.

Risk is a recipe for accident and disaster, it is very much an important narrative tool when producing a piece of cinema, and due to the nature of the beast, it must have its ramifications. Yes, they can sometimes be bloody and yes sometimes even equate to death for the characters to which fortune did not favour. Ultimately, though, the better form of casino-based movies are those that portray the darker side of reality to gambling, rather than the hap-hazard goofery that appears in The Hangover.

How you wish to perceive James Bond movies, we will leave down to you. Perhaps they are something that sits in the middle between the tongue in cheek lighter films and those darker casino movies.

A winning narrative formula
Gambling has been a powerful narrative for a very long time in the life of cinema, and it could be argued that the outcomes are always predictable because of this. The main character will gamble and will ultimately cheese-off some guy with power. The character now has to get out of a situation that was too deep in the first place and the most likely resolution is to metaphorically gamble as a means of succeeding.

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