Casino gaming is not exactly new, as it has been around for centuries. The cultural significance of casinos and gambling has helped them become a part of the TV and movie culture throughout the world, including the Middle East. Many blockbuster TV series and films feature casino scenes and some even naming the entire film after them.
Just remember Casino Royale, the title for one of the most successful James Bond movies of all time. In Casino Royale, 007 faces off with Le Chiffre (whose name loosely translates as Code). Yet, this is not the only movie about casinos that is popular in Middle Eastern culture. We will now take a look at all the references and explain why gambling plays such a powerful role in today’s culture. In today’s pick we cover:
- Casino Royale
- Ocean’s Eleven
- Molly’s Game
Casino Royale is not just a movie about gambling. It’s a movie about high stakes where James Bond, portrayed by Daniel Craig, plays with life and death. Le Chiffre, the villain of the movie, joins a high-stakes poker game in Monaco at the prestigious Casino Royale in order to secure funding for his terrorist operations. Agent James Bond from the British Secret Service sits down to play Le Chiffre and hopefully make him lose all his ill-gotten money. The ensuing poker game is one of cat and mouse where every card played feels like a chess piece moved across the board. Will 007 succeed? Just like with most games of chance and skill, there is no real way to be certain about what comes next. The movie itself is lauded as one of the best James Bond performances of ALL time.
21 is a movie about change and how to subdue the unpredictable nature of a game such as a blackjack and make sure that you get ahead in the game. Well, the movie 21 is precisely about getting ahead in the game and if you ever wondered whether you could – you will find the process to be challenging, although quite rewarding. Well, the heroes in 21 come across all sorts of trouble but they are able to outsmart the game. As is the nature of the game of chance, there will be a few losers but in this case, at least, they are victims of their own greediness and lack of consideration for others. There are good stories here, too, so don’t miss out on this movie!
Ocean’s Eleven is a movie about “betting” on whether you could raid a Las Vegas casino, get away with the cash, and not have a soul know about what you have done. The idea of robbing a Las Vegas casino is seemingly impossible as the security is absolutely tight. In the film featuring realistic poker betting scenes, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) and his partner Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) seem to have no clear idea how they are going to pull off their heist. Yet, the players are ready to take on a big challenge and that is precisely what they will do. Danny and crew may succeed in robbing the casinos of his rival, but fate has another card up its sleeve, enough to take the plot and story across two additional movies to follow.
Rounders is an interesting movie that focuses on one of the best places to be a gambler – New York. The Empire State has had a fraught relationship with gambling and for decades, poker was run by the underworld. In Rounders, a young Matt Damon gets tangled with the poker mafia in a bid to help a friend out. A friend that amassed a significant debt to some seedy characters. To get his friend off the hook he offers to play for his debt. He loses and he is set back thousands of dollars, which makes him vow to never play poker again and focus on working hard through law school while keeping a convenience store job. Well, Damon’s character IS surely going to play once more.
Molly’s Game is a movie based on the true story of Molly Bloom who helped organize and run one of the most extensive networks of underworld poker games. A woman in a thug’s world, Molly’s success was not due to coercion but rather providing her clients what they wanted: a safe and reliable environment where they could play poker without worrying about the DOJ busting through the front door. Her success was screened and immortalized in Molly’s Game flick which tells the peculiar story of how a woman was able to take on a man’s world and completely dominate it without batting an eyelash.