peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2013 07 12 TheKillingOfAChineseBookie

The Killing of A Chinese Bookie (1976)

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I really enjoyed this one. Cassavetes captures the owner of a seedy nightclub (the Crazy Horse West, in California) whose love of gambling outstrips his good sense. In some ways it echoes Thief in that the mafiosi have even less smarts. The cinematography is excellent; the scenes inside the club are beautifully lit. I liked the muted soundwork at the Chinaman's: mutilating what we hear of such a critical juncture is a nice touch. Ben Gazzara anchors the show with his usual understated elegance. It is a bit slow but it didn't drag, perhaps because it often says things at-most-once, with sparely drawn characters.