The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (J. Cassavetes, 1976)

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (John Cassavetes, 1976)

Unfortunately, the more I see from Cassavetes, the more I wonder if he just isn’t my thing. It’s really too bad because the first two I saw from him were very good. But I will definitely expand my Cassavetes horizon before making a final verdict. With The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, I felt there were just too many extended and superfluous scenes. It seemed that for every poetic and emotionally powerful scene there was an overly drawn-out one as well. Many of these scenes exist to illustrate the pathetic nature of the film’s setting, but the point is made the first time. Cassavetes’ uber-realism just about crosses my threshold of patience here.

Additionally, the film’s ‘kill a man to get out of debt’ plot didn’t really work for me. I would have preferred it to have just been about emotional effects caused by the looming debt. I will say, though, that this might be the best looking of Cassavetes’ films. The colors, manipulation of light, and camerawork are all great throughout much of this. At times, the cinematography alone held my interest.  6.75/10

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