Such is the basic premise of Chinese Roulette, which one-ups the notion of the ruined weekend by adding a crippled daughter and her mute nursemaid to the proceedings. Odd then that the child proves to be the most vicious of them all, as her game of "Chinese Roulette," essentially a truth or dare derivative, ends with gunplay.
One of Fassbinder's lesser-known works, Roulette is hampered by an overbearing simplicity and a story that doesn't get going until its third act. At the same time, Fassbinder bites off a bit more than he can chew in such a small film: Is it a story about infidelity, the evils of the bourgeoisie, the things that come from the mouths of babes? Or is it about how we ignore the young and the handicapped, but how they can screw with us more than should be allowed by law?
Fassbinder hits on all these hot buttons but drives none of them home. In the end he retreats to his parlor room gossipping and armchair philosophizing about the social system. It just doesn't work to have all these people acting oh-so-polite when they ought to be at each other's throats.
Aka Chinesisches Roulette .
Run time: 96 mins
In Theaters: Friday 22nd April 1977
Distributed by: Video Treasures
Production compaines: Albatros Filmproduktion, Les Films du Losange, Multicine
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Fresh: 7 Rotten: 2
IMDB: 7.5 / 10
Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Producer: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Screenwriter: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Starring: Anna Karina as Irene Cartis, Margit Carstensen as Ariane Christ, Brigitte Mira as Kast, Ulli Lommel as Kolbe, Alexander Allerson as Gerhard Christ, Volker Spengler as Gabriel Kast, Macha Méril as Traunitz, Andrea Schober as Angela Christ
Also starring: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
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