The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie
Tue 21 June 2011 // 20:00
(Tues 28th / 8pm / £5/4)
(John Cassavetes / USA / 1976 / 108 minutes / Cert 15)
A rare big screen outing for one of John Cassavetes’ most unusual and compelling films. Offering his own unique take on the gangster picture, ‘Killing of a Chinese Bookie’ is a gripping and often darkly funny tale of a man who struggles to deal with the life he has created for himself, when he finds himself placed in an impossibly dire situation.
When nightclub owner Cosmo Vitelli (Ben Gazzara) finds himself in debt once again with mob creditors, he is reluctantly forced to perform a ‘hit’ on a supposed small time criminal, only to find himself set up by his mob employers when it appears he has unknowingly wiped out the capo of the Chinese mafia. As always, Cassavetes uses this rather simple plot as a springboard to explore his real interests: Character study. We follow Cosmo’s movements, often in real time, as he bumbles from one crisis to the next, until his mistakes and bad decisions lead him into the kind of deep water from which he may struggle to return. A man trapped , both by his tormentors, but even more by himself.
With a brilliant supporting cast of character actors, including Cassavetes regular Seymour Cassell and Timothy Carey, it’s a picture full of the rich detail and closely observed sense of place which lends itself ideally to the cinema screen, so we’re psyched to be able to bring it back here, for one night only.