—01. Ben Gazzara as Cosmo Vitelli.
In 1976's The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, director John Cassavetes turns his incomparable independent cinema verite style and improvised performances on the crime genre, resulting in a seedy depiction of 1970s LA. Ben Gazzara's reading of a strip club owner Cosmo Vitelli, whose degenerate gambling ties him to the mob and forces him to do a job that puts him up against tough odds, is nuanced and believable. The 108 minute re-edit moves with a spare economy that is missing from the original, being 30 minutes longer, but the lingering closeups and fantastic camera work are just as marvellous.