John Cassavetes specialized in close-quarters character studies, making the genre thrills of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie all the more notable. Ben Gazzara, who also appeared in the writer-director's Husbands and Opening Night, is our guide through the smoke-filled bars and clubs of a seedy L.A. underbelly that Cassavetes can't help but make seem coolly alluring. Rest assured that this one lives up to the promise of its lethal title, which hints at but doesn't fully convey the criminal element seen in what might be Cassavetes' most visually arresting film.
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