In case you were wondering, gambling is bad. It is an addiction that is not easily beaten. Gambling can ruin lives, take lives, rob you of your life savings, break up your family, or any number of other terrible things. In case you didn't already know that, thankfully we have Even Money to tell us. It is a movie that has an amazing cast, but a story that attempts to bring in people from all different walks of life under the banner of demonizing gambling. Unfortunately, Even Money does not work. It is too bad, because the cast is really good and with a better script could have delivered a very good film.
A big problem with the film is that we do not get enough time with any of the characters to build up any sort of sympathies. I have no reason to care about any of them. We are not given any insight into why they gamble, just that they do. The film tracks their stories to the inevitable conclusion, a conclusion that was met with an "eh" by this viewer. What was the point of this movie? To understand why people gamble and what it can do to good people and to their families and loved ones? Nope. The point is that gambling is bad, but I said that already. Why keep reading this? I don't know, I already gave you the purpose of the film. Still here? All right, I think there is more I can give you.
The film is framed by a murder. At the start, a dead body is found floating in the river accompanied by voiceover telling us that people live on dreams and to find the truth you have to find the dream and work backwards. What is the overriding dream? Damned if I know. We are told at the end that we all want more. Again, who cares? This does not offer any new insight into human nature or the reason for gambling. The voiceover is provided by the detective in charge of the investigation, goes by the name of Brunner. Detective Brunner is played by Kelsey Grammer in a prosthetic nose and chin, using crutches to get around. He pops up from time to time, and by the end you wonder why the murder was included, as it never really meshes with the rest of the story. You could easily have excised his scenes at no detriment to the film.