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This movie is the epitome of brilliantly dramatic character study: It's so phenomenal, watching it is excruciating. Cassavetes takes us deep inside the lives of a bored, shallow upper-middle-class couple, and as his skilled actors improvise remarkably realistic scenes, down to the smallest mannerism of their characters, Cassavetes forces us to watch every knife-twisting second. It's difficult: Rather than watching an unpleasant situation, then getting pulled away by an editor's cut, we have to sit through all 20 or 25 minutes of a scene that makes us squirm, whether it's a middle-aged man making an ass of himself to impress a young prostitute or his wife feigning laughter to make a young man think she's having fun with him. While not the best movie I've ever seen, it's unique: A great work to whose style nothing else compares.
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