A Goodfella in the Lobby
Jack Abramoff (Kevin Spacey) is many things; a husband, father, religious and also a powerful Washington DC lobbyist who with his position is on a crusade to acquire as much as he can be it money or power by using his position of influence. Jack is not along as young Michael Scanlon (Barry Pepper) is his partner in crime, quite literally when they come across a floating casino which needs a new owner and they talk Adam Kidan (Jon Lovitz) to front the business for them. But things explode in a bad way and suddenly they find their various enterprises coming under scrutiny from those in power as well as the FBI.
Prior to watching "Casino Jack" I had never heard of Jack Abramoff, yes the guy is real, and I had no idea what a lobbyist did. In truth having watched the movie I don't know much more about what lobbyists do and that doesn't actually matter too much because whilst "Casino Jack" is about a real person and what they did which ended up with him being put inside there is more a rise and fall style storyline which in a way reminded me of "Goodfellas".
As such what we basically watch in "Casino Jack" is Jack and Michael wheeling and dealing when it comes to what they get behind, mainly casinos, and we see how the money they sell their services for go towards back handers to various politicians. At the same time we see how Jack, whilst a movie fan who often drops quotes and impersonations, plans to use his money to fund a Jewish college. But where it really reminds me of "Goodfellas" is in the character of Adam Kidan as he is played with a bit of humour and a touch of whininess that ends up making some major mistakes. Don't get me wrong as "Casino Jack" certainly doesn't have the same style as "Goodfellas" but it does have the same sort of trajectory feel as well as some moments of violence.
The thing about "Casio Jack" is that the character of Jack Abramoff is played with a touch of the gift of the gab, a bit of a high classed wheeler dealer and Kevin Spacey's ability let dialogue fly with long witty speeches makes him perfect for the part. In fact Spacey's frequent impressions and movie quote dropping comes from him so naturally what could have ended up a cheesy part of the character. And to be honest everyone in "Casino Jack" play their parts well with Barry Pepper making Michael a bit money foolish whilst Rachelle Lefevre has this mix of naive but dangerous as Michael's girlfriend.
What this all boils down to is that "Casino Jack" ended up an entertaining movie despite not being in to politics or being aware of who Jack Abramoff is. And that comes from it having that rise and fall of someone on the make style of story as well as Kevin Spacey who is on fine form through out.