Two for the Money – Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey
Two for the Money is one of the most underestimated movies, with Al Pacino who by the way, got an award for starring in this film. The film is about the story of man who get lucky and then at the first attempt fail in sport gambling.
Although the film is mainly about bets, stakes and money, the plot is far deeper and worth watching.
Former Sport Star becomes a Gambling Expert
One of the main characters, Brandon Long, has the stereotypical life of a former sports star. He tried to attract his father’s attention through success in sport, which afterwards became his path in life. Brandon (Matthew McConaughey) plays football with great results, being a promising player. Unfortunately, his career makes a U-turn when he is injured in one of the college football matches. He doesn’t give up and shortly he finds the opportunity to use his knowledge of sport games in picking the winners of matches. He knew most of teams which played. This remarkable flair gives him a chance to easily find out the winner. Consequently Walter Abrams, a big gambling businessman, takes note of Brandon. Walter (Al Pacino) finds the guy very promising not as a football player, but as a gambling expert and decides to engage him in his future betting corporation.
Walter helps Matthew McConaughey’s character, buys him a wardrobe filled up with expensive suits and clothes, pays for his haircut, and purchases a new car for his young protégé. Moreover, Brandon takes a new name and starts a career on a TV show where he forecasts the winners of competitions. Then starts an interesting process of Brandon’s transformation into John Anthony – a confident and cold-blooded advisor on a TV-show. Walter creates his empire around the man who seems like a son he (Walter) never had.
Anyway, Brandon is not the high point of the movie in spite of being one of the main characters. Matthew here seems to be only the second one. Brandon is the key person in the movie, with all troubles and events happening around him; though he rarely manages to act for more than for a few minutes. His personal scenes are secondary and do not explain the film’s plot or uncover its sense. Though Matthew McConaughey is a great actor, he comes second to Al Pacino who is brilliant as always.
Al Pacino Explains the Nature of Gambling Addiction
The movie is quite remarkable not only because of Al Pacino’s brilliant acting, but because it also describes the gambling issue from a very interesting point of view. In one scene, he explains to other anonymous gamblers that the key problem is within themselves. Not gambling itself, but their passion, and even an obsession of the game spoils them. He says that even when they lose almost everything they have, a house, a family, all money and job, they do not stop because of the feeling that they are alive. They draw near to collapsing again and again, because after losing almost everything they find out that life is still going on and their heart’s still beating; so they feel satisfied and then begin a new cycle. Even if they win a lot, it’s just a matter of time, and they gamble it all away.
Though Walter has never played like a gambler, he knows exactly what it is and why it happens. His wife, Toni had such an addiction. They overcame the addiction together; so Walter knew for sure what gamblers really wanted.
The film goes on with Brandon who is blinded by success in his TV show and starts betting himself. Shortly, he becomes addicted, loses his flair and begins to give wrong tips for gamblers. His new passion hinders his job and even threatens his life when one gambler, who lost a pile of money due to Brandon’s advice, tries to kill him out of revenge. The stakes are rising. Some people bet millions of dollars following Brandon’s advice. When they win, everything is great, they get piles of money; but as soon as John Anthony makes a mistake, it turns out to be dangerous. Eventually he decides to quit the business and avoids Walter. Afterwards, he realizes that Walter also kept him out of his family, and didn’t let his relatives call him. John Anthony turns back to Brandon and tries to escape from his boss.
At the end of the movie, Brandon leaves his gambling partner and goes to another city to coach little boys. He finds out that this is going to be a much better future for a former football player, than giving tips to gamblers or playing himself.
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