2014 A Blackjack Odyssey is sure to be a huge hit this year; it’s the latest Stanley Kubrick film, well, sort of.
Stanley Kubrick is still dead, so don’t worry. This is more of an imaginative piece than anything else.
Stanley Kubrick was an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and editor whose work has been critically acclaimed many times over. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time; several pieces of his work have gained huge fan bases and followings since their release.
His films were typically adaptation of short stories or novels, which are told in a strange way with great attention paid to details, realism and the evocative use of scoring and music. Kubrick’s films covered a wide range of topics and themes, such as war, romance, crime, horror, comedy and science fiction.
However, the great filmmaker never delved fully into the history of blackjack, or the world of casinos and gambling, and that’s something we are all truly upset about over here.
As a result, we’ve imagined how the famous directors take on a gambling film would look; keep reading if you’d like to find out too.
Not Barry Lyndon
Kubrick did touch on the life of a gambler and gambling, in his 1975 film Barry Lyndon; the film focuses on Barry, who finds himself in the position of servant to a professional gambler and as a result, becomes involved in the world of social climbing surrounded by gambling dens and petty crime.
Although this does touch on the lucrative gamblers lifestyle, the film is set in the 18th century and the depiction is a far cry from the modern world of readily accessible internet betting and mobile casinos in our very pockets.
If Kubrick were to pen and produce a gamblers odyssey, we imagine the plot would follow a gambling individuals life activities, told with innovative visual effects and scientific realism no doubt; ultimately, a science fiction journey through the progression of modern gambling traditions into the unknown, and presumably bizarre, future.
A Not So Distant Past
Our epic would begin in the not so distant past, showing our main gambling fan enjoying everything Las Vegas has to offer in the last few decades of the 20th century. For the sake of amusement, we’ve decided our man is named Chip; yeah, like betting chips, how original.
Chip is a man who loves to gamble, he has a shadowy past which is never truly revealed to us; the most we know about Chip is show through his eccentric casino table manners and perpetually nervous disposition. Chip is a guy who keeps his cards close to his chest, but runs his mouth a lot.
The day we meet him, his mouth has been running way too long; Chip mentions a little too much about the money he’s accumulated hitting the strip year after year.
He is presumably drugged by some shady characters he met at the tables that night, and is left shown left for dead in his hotel room, with nothing more than his shoes, half a packet of Marlboro cigarettes and most importantly, a score that needs settling.
From this moment on, Chip is a changed man; now he’s looking for the men who did this to him, and he’s not nervous in the slightest.
This is the second chapter of our film and its set in the modern reality of Earth, say around the first couple of decades since the millennium.
Chip has been looking for years for the men he needs to get in touch with; his most recent information has led him to South-East Asia, and it appears as if he is finally getting close. Chip looks noticeably weary, following what we interpret as hard years both physically and mentally for him.
This section of the film focuses on Chips continuing vendetta, but alongside his story we are shown the way gambling has changed throughout the relatively short span of time, and how Chip has adapted to that.
The rise of technology heavily influences this time period of the story; the digital age is almost fully upon the world now, a significant change of scenery has occurred during the time elapsed between chapters.
Technological improvements have moved into the work place; the office is no longer dominated by man, who is shown carelessly wandering the streets in the masses.
Men who still have employment no longer go to casinos to gamble, unless they have the luxury of time to spare; gambling has become a major vice for the population and all get their fix through cheap handheld devices which are forever beeping with reminders to play the mobile slots and table game packages concealed within their smooth, reflective screens.
This is a perspective that’s not too hard for the imagination to grasp.
Future Bets and Beyond
At the end of the second chapter, Chip finally comes into contact with the men he’s been looking for and they haven’t aged one bit; in fact, they look almost younger. Here the screen will fade, and everything is left as an uncertainty.
We’re not really sure how our protagonist would make it to this stage, but in film when looking towards a futuristic setting, usually anything is possible. So our man has made it a few hundred years into the future, and he still has that old itch for Winning at blackjack.
Chip is looking better since we last seen him in Asia, an accomplished feat considering the hundreds of years passed; his current wealthy status and youthful appearance suggest that he has taken more from the men he was seeking than they did from him all those years ago.
We are now dealing with another Chip; the final Chip. He has taken charge of his gambling addiction, and is now feeding off the addictions of the city that lives below him. Chip has created a gambling empire that covers the entire planet, all betting is controlled by the mind and runs on the systems that Chip has in his possession.
He still possesses the urges and need to gamble, and the money he bleeds out his clients provides him more than enough to satisfy himself.
In our final scene, Chip quietly weeps as he drinks alone in his tower; we have no other indications of his motivations or mood, all is left unsaid.
This is merely a brief glimpse into what could perhaps have existed, in another time, in another film by an already famous man. Perhaps someone else will go down the route instead one day, it’s entirely possible, as Kubrick once said himself ‘If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed.’