Music of Chance, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2 1/2

Two strangers, an ex-fireman driving cross-country with no real destination and a penniless professional card player, team up for a chance at instant wealth. Jim Nashe (Mandy Patinkin) picks up Jack Pozzi (James Spader) on the side of the road and gives him a ride to New York. Jack needs $10,000 for a poker game with two wealthy eccentric old men in New Jersey. Jack agrees to put up the cash, and the two find themselves locked into a game of chance that will change their lives. The two elderly men, played by Joel Grey and Charles Durning, seem harmless enough. However, as the game progresses, Jim loses everything, including Jack's expensive sports car, plus another $10,000. Suddenly their hosts turn ugly. Forced to pay off their debt by building a stone wall around the estate, Jim and Jack become prisoners under the watchful eye of handy-man Calvin (E. Emmet Walsh). Tragedy strikes when Jack breaks under the cruel terms of their confinement. Quiet, repressed Jim finally gets his revenge in a bizarre ending. The intriguing story and outstanding performances will demand viewers' total concentration.

Addicted to gambling, Jim has never had a "real job." He prefers waivering between total despair and total euphoria to avoid commitment and responsibility. Jack, the ex-fireman, never expresses anger at Jim for losing his life savings. Still, he coldly destroys two lives when his pent up anger finally surfaces. The real villains, however, are the eccentric pair whose cruelty almost destroys Jim and Jack. The four men have one thing in common - greed. They all expect to make "quick" money with little effort. The gambling and greed are not condoned; their consequences are devastating. Though not gratuitous, the bloody body of a man almost beaten to death is very graphic.The major problem with this film is its incessant obscenities and profanities. Also, a superfluous scene of a prostitute hired for Jim's entertainment one evening does not seem to fit. Sex between them is implied by sounds. How unfortunate that a really fascinating story is padded with these unnecessary, offensive elements.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
I.R.S. Media Inc. 3939 Lankershim Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (22) times - Moderate 18; Mild 4

Obscene Language: Many (40) times (f-word 22; s-word 13; other 5)

Profanity: Many (14) times - Regular 11; Exclamatory 3

Violence: Few times - Moderate and severe (man's bloody body shown; kick in stomach; car crash; brief fantasy scene of little boy with his throat slashed)

Sex: Implied once (off camera)

Nudity: Near nudity (prostitute's low-cut dress)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (prostitute's conversation; men discuss sex)

Drugs: Beer drinking few times; drunkenness once

Other: Negative consequences of gambling and greed

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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