Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 1976. Faces Distribution. Screenplay by John Cassavetes. Cinematography by Mitch Breit, Al Ruban. Produced by Al Ruban. Music by Bo Harwood. Production Design by Sam Shaw. Costume Design by Mary Herne. Film Editing by Tom Cornwell.
Fans of John Cassavetes’ open-ended approach to filmmaking will delight in seeing him tackle the genre of film noir crime movies. Ben Gazzara is terrific as a strip-club owner who is up to his neck in gambling debts that he is unable to pay. When it comes time to collect, the gangsters he owes money to offer to clear his debt if he bumps off a bookie that they’re having trouble with. Of course, this is Cassavetes, so it never plays as easy as it sounds. Stunning cinematography and some wonderfully raw performances will draw the viewer in to a hypnotic underworld of sleazy criminals and easy lovers, though less daring audiences will be turned off by the loose plotting and sometimes rambly dialogue. Seymour Cassel appears in a supporting role (and as always is a scene-stealer), and the soundtrack (mostly composed by Cassavetes himself) is marvelous.
The Criterion Collection: #254