Everett Collection
Chris Nashawaty
October 29, 2008 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 an A

There was such a thing as independent film before Sundance and sex, lies, and videotape. And tough-guy actor?turned?director John Cassavetes was its master and martyr. With pals like Ben Gazzara and wife Gena Rowlands as his personal repertory company, Cassavetes’ no-budget dramas were anything but vanity projects. They were — and remain — gritty antidotes to Hollywood artifice and gloss. In A Woman Under the Influence, Rowlands gives a harrowing performance as a housewife coming unhinged. In The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, Gazzara struts like a polyester peacock, playing a doomed nightclub owner in debt to the wrong people. The DVDs are loaded with extras, like interviews with the stars, who rightly regard their friend’s movies as miracles in miniature. A

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