The Gambler, the gambler – Review
The Gambler is considered a remake of a seventies film with the same original title, known in Italy as “$ 40,000 for not dying”.
Advertising The first version of the film, the famous American success of Karel Reisz in 1974, is appreciated for the excellent performance of the protagonist, James Caan, massively praised and nominated for a Golden Globe. Both photograph an existentialist drama in the form of a gripping action noir.
The Gambler from 2014 is a dramatic genre film, a thriller, written by Willian Monahan, directed by Rupert Wyatt, with Mark Wahlberg, the protagonist, and Jessica Lange, his mother. Although for some it represents a surrogate, weakened and withered to the point of becoming a pale shadow of the original, in my opinion it tells the story of a brilliant, arrogant, snooty university professor who actually lives a very strong sense of unease and frustration since discontented with his job and secretly a gambling slave. Jim Bennett, in fact, a protagonist with an sometimes intolerable character, highly esteemed by his students, has a double life; scion of a well-known and rich family of bankers, at the death of his grandfather he finds himself having to struggle between the complicated relationship with his mother and the self-destructive pushes of an immoderate addiction to gambling, without any inhibitory brake, which will lead him to ruin … He is overwhelmed and involved in a compulsive vortex and , apparently with no way out, and at the same time also in a saving and passionate love story with one of his students. As in Dostoevsky’s “The Player”, a prism through which to update the dimensions of the Pathological Gambling Game (GAP), different interpretations can be used: individual, of his family of origin and of the network of relationships (Cancrini, 2017). apparently with no way out, and at the same time also in a saving and passionate love story with one of his students. As in Dostoevsky’s “The Player”, a prism through which to update the dimensions of the Pathological Gambling Game (GAP), different interpretations can be used: individual, of his family of origin and of the network of relationships (Cancrini, 2017). apparently with no way out, and at the same time also in a saving and passionate love story with one of his students. As in Dostoevsky’s “The Player”, a prism through which to update the dimensions of the Pathological Gambling Game (GAP), different interpretations can be used: individual, of his family of origin and of the network of relationships (Cancrini, 2017).
The reasons that lead the protagonist to decide to play are not explicit; we do not know what the click that marks the start to what will become its ruin. Certainly the motivations to undertake, as well as those to continue, these activities are manifold.
Some of the symptoms present in a player are clearly visible in the protagonist.
What does gambling represent for our protagonist? It could represent a way not to think about the uselessness of his work or a magical place where you can fantasize about the consequent changes in your life, or an activity thanks to which you can temporarily fill or cancel moments of boredom, lack of meaning, dissatisfaction, depression and loneliness or, again, an activity to experience excitement and pleasure (Croce, 2001; Pani & Biolcati, 2006).
The necessary insights related to the deep motivations of a player character on which the cumbersome absence of a father figure looms, in the film, are only partially sketched.
Gambling is a titanic challenge: in the short period of time between waiting and the result, the player feels extraordinary excitement; the pleasure of dreaming the winnings, therefore, repays the player from disappointment. Also in this case the erotic drive is hinged with the thanatic drive. Anorgasmia is often governed by prolonged pleasure that wants to be maintained and at the same time never resolves: excitement is not followed by the plateau and detumescence; a state of continuous and perennial excitement is maintained. The player is not such because he is compulsive, his being anancastic is the defense against not having a decisive pleasure. Freud wrote: omne animal post coitum triste est; the fulfillment of desire cancels the desire and opens to a serene sadness or fulfillment, that is, given by the loss of excitement (as if you were tired after a nice day at the beach …). The player does not tolerate this.
Gambling can take on the connotation of a psychiatric disorder, as officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in 1980; in 1994, pathological gambling (GAP), also called gambling disorder, gambling disease or generically and inappropriately ludopathy, was classified in DSM-IV (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders) as “control disorder of the impulses “. The DSM-IV tr defined the GAP as “persistent, recurrent and maladaptive gambling behavior that compromises personal, family or work activities”; in 2013 the APA developed a more updated and scientifically correct definition: “Gambling Disorder” (APA – DSM V 2013).
In the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders, DSM 5, we no longer speak of Pathological Gambling but of “Gambling Disorder” (ADI) placing it within the Addictions category in a special subcategory, “Disorder not related to the use of substances”. It is considered a disorder belonging to addictions, instinctive behaviors aimed at satisfying a physical and / or psychological need that can have adverse consequences in various contexts of an individual’s life.
The English term addiction, in Italian pathological dependence, derives from the Latin addictus, a term used in Ancient Rome to indicate the slave who became such for not being able to pay debts, and this condition persisted until the debt was extinguished. Jim is a slave to himself and the game; the individuals who experience this discomfort, in fact, renounce the ability to reflect abandoning themselves to a state of euphoria and fleeting pleasantness, coveted more and more and for an increasingly prolonged time through the compulsive search for insane behavior (craving).
Advertising message Spada and collaborators (2015) carried out research to understand what the influence of metacognition could be on pathological gambling and investigated what the goals (goals) of gambling could be and what the signals of the beginning and end of the problematic behavior implemented by the player. The results show that specific metacognitive beliefs play a fundamental role in the incipit and support of addiction behaviors (Spada, 2013), but that the GAP could be considered as a way to tangle and / or regulate one’s internal states (both affective than cognitive), with the consequence of increasing both psychological suffering and associated insane behaviors, in a self-sustaining loop. The GAP, like other forms of addiction, it is interpreted as a manifestation of a profound psychic malaise that needs to be listened to and deciphered. Although each form of addiction has outlined and peculiar characteristics, all are united by the desire to escape from reality, perceived as unacceptable, and by the inability to sustain the psychological suffering that follows. Pathological gambling, together with other addictions such as addiction to sex, work over the Internet, if it is used for a long time for compensatory purposes or for flight, leads those who use it to become “victim of the game” . The designated victims would be individuals who are sucked into a vortex of obsessive thoughts related to the game with consequent implementation of behaviors (compulsion) from which they can no longer escape. The attraction and the need to satisfy the impulse to play are more and more intense, so much so as to result in a total loss of control; routine and repetitive behavior is pursued, even in the presence of obstacles and contingent dangers (Guerreschi, 2003). Problem gamblers present frequent difficulties related to the relational and work sphere (Grant & Kim, 2001; National Opinion Research Center, 1999). Our protagonist had decided not to let go emotionally. “I have to annihilate the past. If I get to the bottom I can start again “strong and emblematic phrase of the film that tells us something about the ancestral suffering of the protagonist, who had very deep origins. In line with his idea of ”all or nothing”,
In the final part of the film, the protagonist decides to let a magical episode decide whether or not he should stop playing. Many have wondered what would have happened if he had not won his last game … Once again he seems inclined to rely on luck, in the saving hope of obtaining a victory and a profit that can put an end to his financial difficulties and above all that he can represent a fine punishment, capable of pulling him out of his vicious circle.
It is clear that the protagonist has not made a psychotherapeutic journey; in the end he says he is not a player, a phrase that a real former player would never say …