16 July 2013 11:39 PM, PDT | CineVue | See recent CineVue news »

★★★☆☆ On the surface, revered American filmmaker John Cassavetes' The Killing of a Chinese Bookie is a meandering, almost impenetrable tale of sweaty strip joints and sleazy gangsters. Culled of 25 minutes of footage after the original 1976 cut bombed at the box office, the leaner 1978 re-edit is undoubtedly the easier watch. Yet, with both versions now available on a new BFI rerelease, it's definitely worth viewing Cassavetes' piece in the raw before he was cajoled into compromising his vision, especially since his lead character is essentially a representation of himself - a man who abhors the idea of compromise.

Ben Gazzara plays Cosmo Vitelli, the owner of a backwater strip club who is content to be the king of his own little world. He rides around in a limo, drinks champagne with beautiful woman and works hard to maintain what he believes to be an idyllic existence. Unfortunately, however, Cosmo ends »

- CineVue UK

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