A semiautobiographical tale written and directed by Joe E. Goodavage, “The Last Gamble” follows a compulsive gambler down his bottomless spiral. Run amok with self-destructive compulsion, Joe G. (Steven Bauer) prefers the company of bookies, loan sharks and otherwise afflicted derelicts and enablers. Standing apart from the negative influences are Joe’s mother, Sally (Academy Award nominee Sally Kirkland), and Elizabeth, his therapist (Tanya Clarke).
Joe’s life is a mess — and at times, the film echoes that condition. Just short of two hours, “The Last Gamble” has almost too many characters. It’s like all of David Chase’s characters from an entire season of “The Sopranos” have reunited for a story too small.
The principle actors, however, give worthy performances, bringing weight to the feeling that every character is in perpetual danger from his or her own actions.