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Gambler, The

Director:  Karel Reisz
Year Released:  1974
Rating:  3.0

Absorbing character study of an obsessive strikes me as a predecessor to Paul Schrader's American Gigolo in which we are presented with a highly flawed man who at first we like but later start to question (screenwriter James Toback gives us a very obvious clue to this with the James Caan character discussing with his class the William Carlos Williams essay on George Washington's 'flawless' 'character'). It's a little long and metaphor-heavy, but the performance by Caan is remarkable and the ending, which by all means shouldn't work, closes everything on a disturbing but appropriate note. And for anyone with an addiction of any sort should sympathize with the main character's self-destructive streak.

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