The true story of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who swindled Native
American tribes out of millions and was indicted for corruption.
Casino Jack (2010)
Directed by George Hickenlooper
Written by Norman Snider
Starring Kevin Spacey, Barry Pepper, Jon Lovitz,
Kelly Preston, Graham Greene, Spencer Garrett,
Eric Schweig, Maury Chaykin, Daniel Kash
We all know that Washington D.C. is as corrupt as corrupt can get, but I think few know exactly how that corruption comes along. It doesn't just fall out of the sky. Somebody has to introduce that corruption into the system. One of those people was congressional lobbyist and professional liar Jack Abramoff. Using his far-reaching political influence, Abramoff succesfully conned at least four Native American tribes out of over $20 million under the guise of helping them protect their gambling businesses. This film tells how Abramoff went about stealing that money and what he did with it, in one of the most unbelievable true stories ever to happen in Washington.
Kevin Spacey can pretty much win me over with nearly every performance he's ever given. As far as I'm concerned, he's a national treasure. His turn as Abramoff gives an all-American scumbag a great deal of undeserved charm, with most of it just coming from Spacey's own personality. You're not sure why, but there's something you like about Abramoff. You know he's a liar and a cheat, but you kinda don't want him to lose. His cohorts, on the other hand, are even worse than he is. The entire third act focuses on the hypocrisy of our government, when Abramoff is deposed in a senate hearing by the very people his brand of corruption helped put in office. I felt that this film did a great job of showing how far the influence of a lobbyist can reach.
I enjoyed Casino Jack for its insane true story and excellent performances. I'm not sure why it flew under the radar, but it's an enjoyable comedy biopic that takes a good look at our horrifically broken congressional system. There's very few politicians with any scruples anymore and there's even less who don't answer to special interest groups. In a lot of ways, lobbyists are the ones who make the decisions. Abramoff was just one that got caught.