One of John Cassavetes' grittiest films, The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, if nothing else, gives us Ben Gazzara in a virtuoso performance. His haughty strip club owner is full of sadness and great lines, and though his story is circuitous and overlong (particularly the 1976 original; the 1978 version is about half an hour shorter), it's got moxie. The dilemma at hand: Should the broke Gazzara kill a rival Chinese bookie in order to wipe out his own $23,000 gambling bet? Heavy stuff, but it takes its sweet sweet time in getting to the point.
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