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Karel Reisz United States, 1974

Ashley Spendlove's rating of the film The Gambler

James Caan as an academic, in 70s New York, with a Mahler soundtrack - who can resist?! Also an excellent study of the insidious nature of addiction. Caan is perfect, perhaps never better, his natural charm disarming us to the point where we almost want to stay alongside him even as he sows destruction to both himself and those around him. Reisz's direction is on the dot: unshowy, intelligent, humane. 70s gold.