1.The opening scene of the movie made me immediately think of the Pazuzu recovery scene in The Exorcist. Both scenes happen in the beginning of the film. Both are about finding a relic. Both relics also lead to ruin – although in the case of this story, I guess the relic is good for Kevin Garnett. It gave me a great ominous vibe and I couldn’t help but think Howard’s obsession with it would lead to doom (I mean it’s obvious but if you think of it as demonic it becomes even more pronounced).
2. I honestly wonder if Howard got scammed on the Opal or not. Should it have been worth more or was he just in over his head on its price estimation? I feel like he just got robbed by the auctioneer hall, but that might just be because I like Howard.
3. Idina Menzel is petty and brutal as Dinah and I loved how she told Howard how it was. When she called him annoying I felt that. When she sent his son up with him to the apartment I couldn’t believe it. Basically just telling her son what a scumbag his father really is. It’s sad to see him ask the questions to Howard and lose a level of respect he used to have.
4. The ending had me absolutely floored. I didn’t think Howard would die. I genuinely thought he would be fine – I was worried at Phil’s reaction but thought that Arno being relieved at Howard winning the bet would be enough. Watching Howard die in the moment of pure elation is just heartbreaking. Even when he finally wins he loses. It’s brutal.
5. I love how well addiction and gambling are developed as a kind of disease that overtakes the human condition. Howard isn’t a malicious guy. We see him trying to do good things – but his addiction to gambling makes him incapable of doing anything right. The thrill of gambling comes first and takes priority over his family, his mistress, his job, and his own life. He’s not a bad guy – he just can’t stop wanting the rush.