Born To Win (1971)


Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB

USA, 1971. , , . Original Story by Ivan Passer, Screenplay by , Ivan Passer. Cinematography by , . Produced by . Music by . Production Design by . Costume Design by . Film Editing by .

is a petty thief and heroin addict who can’t beat the odds against him: he and his best friend try to rob a safe and fail, Segal is constantly being manipulated by smooth drug kingpin , and when he tries to steal a car off the street, it results in a meet-cute with the owner (a delightful ), with whom he, against all sanity, strikes up a romance.

Segal keeps thinking his next scheme will put him over on his oppressors and he’ll get his own back, but his plans to pull off a few deals for Elizondo and make off with the cash keep hitting snags and drag him into deeper, dangerous trouble in this cynical but often darkly funny film by Czech ex-patriate Ivan Passer (here making his Hollywood debut).

Passer’s plot twists always lead to dead ends, there’s no desire to see anything pay off that has been carefully set up, and that will frustrate many viewers, but the charisma of the entire cast (which also includes a top-billed but barely visible ) and their quirky interactions make it at least worth checking out.

Toronto International Film Festival: 1977

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