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Karel Reisz United States, 1974

Matthew Martens's rating of the film The Gambler

Reisz's bravura opening sequence establishes the narrow confines to which his gambler's concerns have been reduced. From there we're shown a world Axel only barely inhabits, the world of external obligations and others' intentions. Grimly obsessed with imposing his will upon reality -- including his own willful destruction -- Axel both depends upon and reacts against the safe-harbor/prison of the maternal relation.