Win It All

Win It All ★★★½

"The sun's upon a gambling day
His queen smiled low and blissfully
Let's make some wretched fool to play
Plain it was she did agree"

Gambling movies are all kind of similiar, but to be fair, it's not a very nuanced vice. It's a one-way street: you bet, you lose, you chase. There is a reason it's referred to as an addiction to losing. The release to any movie about a gambler is going to be "they win it all back", something this movie handles beautifully for about 90% of its run-time by subverting those expectations and sinking the movie's hero - the hapless loser played with the right combination of moxie and desperation by Jake Johnson (a performance that I think echoes Elliott Gould's in California Split) - into an increasingly deeper and deeper hole that culminates in a small but hilarious scene of him and his buddies talking about the various ways he can ether make the money back or how he can escape town, possibly to Canada. If there's an issue I have with this movie it's that it doesn't really know where to go from there and in the last 15 minutes it decides to take the predictable but satisfying route which ultimately disappoints me.

It's not a movie claiming to have easy answers nor does it really solve any issues although I kind of wish it committed to the free-fall and despair a little harder because I don't see gambling as anything more than a blackhole that eventually swallows every ting.

In a year that's going to be dominated by Netflix movies too, this will probably get buried later in the year, but for now I think it's up there with the best of what the company - the studio? - has to offer as far as their original - or pre-purchased movies have to offer.

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