Jack in Casino's excellent Kevin Spacey embodies Jack Abramoff, a rascal who alongside Bernie Madoff looks like (almost) a choirboy.
Businessman and lobbyist Jack Abramoff was sentenced in 2006 for fraud, taking with it the employees of the White House, some politicians and other leaders of pressure groups. That's the reality.
In film, Abramoff has the features of Kevin Spacey, always brilliant bastard manipulator, we can not help but hate ... while the magnet. To give more teeth to the film (Kevin Spacey moreover received a Golden Globe nomination for this role), director George Hickenlooper does not hesitate to insert archival footage, taken from the actual audience of 'before the Abramoff inquiry.
Like every time a feature film mixes embezzlement, corruption and politics, we are witnessing, fascinated, at worst a brutal display of depravity.
Kevin Spacey excels at impersonating characters who really existed. Just remember his interpretation of Micky Rosa in 21 or that of Ron Klain in HBO TV movie Recount, to get an idea of the brilliance with which he delivers his performance.
Being totally honest, we must still admit that Jack Casino does nothing transcendent. Yes, Jack Abramoff has richly deserved what happened to him, yes, it's outrageous, and yes, Washington DC (and politics in general) is nothing very brilliant. That said, one can hardly find anything here to begin a substantive discussion on what should be done to "clean up" the system. But do not worry, we quickly forget that failure to revolt.
Presented at the International Film Festival in Toronto last September, Jack Casino has been only very limited release at our southern neighbors, probably because of the subject. Devotees of American policy will move in cinemas, others wait patiently for the DVD release, which should not delay.