"Casino Jack," a Movie Without a Single Hero--Review

"Capitol Punishment": Abramoff Proudly Describes his Modus Operandi

Robert Frank in the February 2012 Harper's reviews Jack Abramoff's recently published unapologetic autobiography. Here is one of the most revealing passages from Frank's review of Abramoff's book.

"The supremely interesting chapter of the superlobbyist's life goes conspicuously unmentioned in Capitol Punishment. Still, the episode appears to have left its traces. Abramoff's Washington is a place where everyone is a pawn of someone else: a bought man or even an 'asset' of some lobbyist or all-powerful interest. When he would dangle a lucrative lobbying job before a Capitol Hill staffer, Abramoff tells us, 'I would own him...His paycheck may have been signed by the Congress, but he was already working for me, influencing his office for my client's best interests.'"

Barry Pepper as Mike Scanlon
Barry Pepper as Mike Scanlon
Jon Lovitz as Adam Kidan
Jon Lovitz as Adam Kidan

Casino Jack is a commercial for campaign finance reform, a movie without a hero about the K Street-Congressional nest of vipers. Kevin Spacey provided his usual competent performance as the megalomaniac. super-lobbyist, Jack Abramoff. As A.O. Scott said, he other prominent Washington figures in the movie--Tom DeLay, Bob Ney, Ohio Congressman, Karl Rove, Grover Norquist, Robert Reed were overshadowed by Abramoff's partners in crime, Michael Scanlon, played as a clueless loonie by Barry Pepper and the horny shyster, Adam Kidan, played by Jon Lovitz. Abramoff's attractive wife, Pam, was played sympathetically by Kelly Preston.

The docudrama is a must see for political junkies and will be enjoyed also by general audiences. Too bad it's unlikely that many people will see this independent movie directed by George Hickenlooper and written by Norman Snider.

“Casino Jack” is rated R (Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian). Obscene language, obscene corruption and a little skin, too.

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Comments 8 comments

Harvey Stelman profile image

Harvey Stelman 5 years ago from Illinois

and back to politics. Stay tuned, it's two minutes for a commercial. I haven't been to a movie since, Maverick! H


FCEtier profile image

FCEtier 5 years ago from Cold Mountain

Sounds like a good movie. Also sounds like more reason for me to remain "apolitical".

Thanks for the review!


Jeff May profile image

Jeff May 5 years ago from St. Louis

Still need to see this.


mega1 profile image

mega1 5 years ago

Another real man's movie! I'll probably let it warp my brain a little, maybe it'll straighten me out! Who knows? Or it will just make me depressed and more bitter about the corruptive trends. or possibly, I'll want to have a 5th career as an investigative reporter, etc. but no, not that inciteful or competitive as these wizards. Without your urging, Ralph, I'd probably have just let it pass me on by.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 5 years ago Author

It's not a likely Oscar candidate, but I think you'll like it.


sir slave profile image

sir slave 5 years ago from Trinity county CA.

Its just not a hero providing story, except for the whistleblowers.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 4 years ago Author

Out of jail, Casino Jack Abramoff is Attempting a Comeback.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/us/jack-abramoff...


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 4 years ago Author

Robert Frank in the February 2012 Harper's reviews Jack Abramoff's recently published unapologetic autobiography. Here is one of the most revealing passages from Frank's review of Abramoff's book.

Here's how lobbying works in Washington and in state capitols around the country, in the words of "Casino Jack" Abramoff in his recently published unrepentant autobiography:

"The supremely interesting chapter of the superlobbyist's life goes conspicuously unmentioned in Capitol Punishment. Still, the episode appears to have left its traces. Abramoff's Washington is a place where everyone is a pawn of someone else: a bought man or even an 'asset' of some lobbyist or all-powerful interest. When he would dangle a lucrative lobbying job before a Capitol Hill staffer, Abramoff tells us, 'I would own him...His paycheck may have been signed by the Congeress, but he was already working for me, influencing his office for my client's best interests.'"

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