Film Review: Gambit

Written by the Coen brothers and directed by Michael Hoffman, Gambit does entertain despite being a little lacklustre.

Tired of dealing with his abusive boss, art curator Harry Deane hatches a plot to con him into buying a fake Monet painting. To pull off his scheme, Harry requires the help of Texas rodeo queen PJ Puznowski…

A remake of the 1966 film starring Michael Caine, Michael Hoffman’s Gambit changes significant details of the plot and characters. What it retains is the premise of an elaborate rouse.  In this version, Harry Deane is determined to scam his boss; it is more about revenge than benefit.

Gambit is a crime caper with a dollop of comedy. The film pivots around the character of Deane, a bumbling art curator who faces ridicule from his awful boss. The film takes the time to construct Harry Deane’s character; painting him as someone who is intelligent yet awkward. It is because of this depiction throughout the film that the ending does not quite ring true. It is easy to see why the Coen brothers decided to conclude the film in such a way, but it does not correlate with what has come before.

Gambit harks back to the original in terms of style. This begins with the animated credit sequence which has a 1960s feel, and continues with styling in the film and choice of soundtrack. Feeding into this, the film accentuates a sense of Britishness with the locations and costumes.

Performances from the cast feed into the stereotypes that they play. Alan Rickman plays the caricature Lionel Shahbander with the villanous zeal audiences have come to expect from him. Cameron Diaz is suitably chipper as PJ Puznowski, while Colin Firth plays the type of character he became famous for.

There are certainly better crime capers, but Gambit is suitably enjoyable. It is just not a classic.

Stuff To Look At

A veritable feast for the eyes this week, with the new teaser trailer for The Lone Ranger, excellent posters from the upcoming Frankenweenie, and more besides…

The Lone Ranger

The teaser trailer for 2013’s The Lone Ranger was released this week. Starring Johnny Depp, directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, it is unsurprising that the teaser is reminiscent of Pirates of the Caribbean. Also starring Armie Hammer as the title character and Helena Bonham Carter, The Lone Ranger is due for release next year.

Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie will be released in the UK on 17th October 2012, and will open the London Film Festival on 12 October 2012. To promote the release of Tim Burton’s new film, these fantastic retro-style posters have been released. The others can be viewed here. They are entirely in keeping with the style of the stop-motion animated black and white film. To coincide with the release, the exhibition The Art of Frankenweenie will open at the BFI Southbank during the festival.

The Master

One of this year’s most anticipated films will be released in the UK on 16th November 2012, with a special run at the Odeon West End from 2nd November 2012. Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master has been receiving critical acclaim and recently broke the takings per screen record when it opened in the US. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams.

The Hobbit

Several images and features from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey have been released in the last few weeks. These include new posters featuring the dwarves and new Hobbit-related apps. But what I want to know is where are the Gollum posters and apps? Until this time comes, here is an image from the film to sate Gollum fans. The first film instalment of The Hobbit will be released on 14th December 2012.

Gambit

Written by Joel and Ethan Coen and directed by Michael Hoffman, Gambit looks like a lot of fun. Starring Colin Firth, Alan Rickman and Cameron Diaz, Gambit is a remake of the 1966 film of the same name. The film will be released in UK cinemas on 21st November 2012.