About nine months ago I walked into a Sundance screening of a documentary called 'Casino Jack and the United States of Money', which was a very pointed indictment of the numerous crimes committed by "super lobbyist" Jack Abramoff and his crew of greedy cronies. Seeing as things like politics and finance hold next to no interest for me, I wondered if I'd find anything to appreciate in the documentary, but I sure as hell did. Director Alex Gibney was able to make Abramoff's numerous convoluted schemes seem more realistic and accessible than any newspaper story, and I found myself appreciating the director's angry yet colorful approach to this potentially dry material.
And I'm pretty darn glad that I went into that screening, not only because I highly enjoyed Gibney's film, but also because I was able to jump right into George Hickenlooper's 'Casino Jack' with most of the information I'd need to enjoy a narrative version of the same story. Plus you could walk into the "movie version" blind and still have a ball watching Kevin Spacey and Barry Pepper sleazing their way through Norman Snider's quick, concise, witty screenplay. From Abramoff's early exploits dallying in off-shore sweat shops and moving forward to his abuse of Native American casinos and his horribly bad decisions regarding a gaming cruise ship, the man's most infamous crimes are detailed in sly and juicy detail.