the gam­bler

Esquire (Malaysia) - - MACHINERY -

(2000) Di­rected by Paul Wilmshurst “Hello, I’m Jonathan Ren­dall and Chan­nel 4 have given me GBP12,000 to gam­ble with. I’m look­ing for­ward to it.” So be­gins a qui­etly bril­liant three hours in the com­pany of Bri­tish sportswrit­ing’s great way­ward tal­ent, a man de­scribed as Keith Floyd crossed with Hunter S Thomp­son and a known bet­ting en­thu­si­ast (C4 funded him in the wake of his book, Twelve Grand, about punt­ing the tit­u­lar amount). Un­der­stated shabby English charm is his stock-in-trade, all sec­ond-hand coats and Silk Cut. He wagers his way from his lo­cal bookie in East Anglia to box­ing in Peterborough and Lon­don casi­nos, then Aus­tralia, Ma­cau, Hong Kong and Las Ve­gas, shin­ing valu­able light on gam­bling. Ren­dall, who died in 2013, ab­so­lutely per­son­i­fies the mis­placed ro­man­ti­cism that makes a win­ning bet so beau­ti­ful and a los­ing one so hor­ri­ble. The highs and lows of the gam­bling life are seen un­var­nished and seem very real, de­spite our hero us­ing the best kind of stake money—some­one else’s.

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