All the characters seem like upstanding citizens, including the restaurateur/loan shark. It feels like a New York story that got moved to the mid-west. Jewish and Italian characters throughout. It's a fairly fast-paced film that takes place over the course of less than a week. Very linear, with no sub-plots other than a marriage that crumbles suddenly when the wife discovers how bad his addiction has become.
Maybe the best part is the lack of a fairy-tale ending. No winning the "big one" and paying off debts and starting new. Instead there's a more realistic ending of a promise to never gamble again, and an agreement that separation might be the best thing. For that, it beats almost every Hollywood gambling movie. No getting off scott-free, but not everyone has to die either.
Watchable, and believable, but nothing special. More of a drama than an action film.
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