The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
(John Cassavetes, 1976, 135 min, USA, English, color, 35mm)
John Cassavetes engages with film noir in his own inimitable style with The Killing of a Chinese Bookie. Ben Gazzara brilliantly portrays a gentleman’s club owner, Cosmo Vitelli, desperately committed to maintaining a facade of suave gentility despite the seediness of his environment and his own unhealthy appetites. When he runs afoul of loan sharks, Cosmo must carry out a terrible crime or lose his way of life. Mesmerizing and idiosyncratic, the film is a provocative examination of masculine identity.
“A postnoir masterpiece.” Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader