Mark Wahlberg stars in the first red band trailer for The Gambler

I’ve been hard on Mark Wahlberg over the years, but maybe my criticism is more due to the fact he’s never really had the right vehicle to showcase his talent (aside from BOOGIE NIGHTS) and not because he just isn’t a very good actor.  I’ll hold out on passing judgement on Wahlberg until I see THE GAMBLER, which looks like it’s going to give him all the opportunity in the world to prove he’s a serious actor and not just an action movie star.  Check out the trailer below and see if this will have a chance come awards season.

The official synopsis for THE GAMBLER: Jim Bennett (Academy Award®-nominee Mark Wahlberg) is a risk taker. Both an English professor and a high-stakes gambler, Bennett bets it all when he borrows from a gangster (Michael Kenneth Williams) and offers his own life as collateral. Always one step ahead, Bennett pits his creditor against the operator of a gambling ring (Alvin Ing) and leaves his dysfunctional relationship with his wealthy mother (Academy Award®-winner Jessica Lange) in his wake. He plays both sides, immersing himself in an illicit, underground world while garnering the attention of Frank (John Goodman), a loan shark with a paternal interest in Bennett’s future. As his relationship with a student (Brie Larson) deepens, Bennett must take the ultimate risk for a second chance.  THE GAMBLER stars: Mark Wahlberg, Brie Larson, Leland Orser, Jessica Lange and John Goodman. The Rupert Wyatt directed film hits theaters on December 19th.

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