(director/writer: Barbet Schroeder; screenwriters: Pascal Bonitzer/book by Steve Baës; cinematographer: Robby Müller; editor: Denise de Casabianca; music: Peer Raben; cast: Jacques Dutronic (Elric), Bulle Ogier (Suzie), Leandro Vale (Clochard), Kurt Raab (Jorg), Roger Serbib (Patron Suzie), Steve Baës (Casino Director), Virgilio Teixeira (Tony), Karl Wallenstein (Boudha), Claus-Dieter Reents (Aldo); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: NR; producer; Margaret Ménégoz: France 3 Cinema/Janus; 1984-France/Portugal/W. Germany-in French with English subtitles)
“I’ve got a tip for you, if you like gambling movies don’t bet on this one.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A dry gambling movie directed and written by the Iranian-born European Barbet Schroeder(“Barfly”/”Our Lady of the Assassins”), raised in France, that he co-writes with Pascal Bonitzer. It’s based on the book by Steve Baës.
I’ve got a tip for you, if you like gambling movies don’t bet on this one.
Elric (Jacques Dutronic) is a gambling addict in the Riviera casino, where he’s known as a big bettor and gracious loser. During a losing period he accidentally runs into a non-gambler Suzi (Bulle Ogier) and hooks up with her as she becomes his good luck charm and also his romantic partner.
Elric then meets Jorg (Kurt Raab, a Fassbinder regular), who cheats at the roulette wheel, and tells Elric it’s the only way to win. Jorg works with partners (Karl Wallenstein and Claus-Dieter Reents) who cause a distraction so Jorg can bet when the wheel stops and he is undetected as he places his chips on the sure winner.
The film lectures us on the evils of gambling, and manages to tell us that “cheating is the continuation of gambling by other means.”
The film is neither entertaining or enlightening, and is morally amiss when the couple, after dumping the lunatic Jorg, win big using a home-made remote control. If you think that devise would work in a casino, you better think again.
REVIEWED ON 6/13/2022 GRADE: C