Lawrence O'Toole
July 23, 1993 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
135 minutes
performer
Seymour Cassel, Ben Gazzara
author
John Cassavetes
genre
Mystery and Thriller, Drama

We gave it a B

John Cassavetes made nervous, edgy movies, and his jittery, homemade style is perfectly suited to video. In The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Gazzara plays a gambling addict and owner of an L.A. strip joint who agrees to kill a Chinese mobster to pay for a debt he racks up at the tables. Nobody captures the hopeless illusion of glamour in dark, dingy bars as effectively as Cassavetes, and this existential tale of male urban angst, with its wasteland of cars, bars, and blaring lights, is at times a brilliant downer. B

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