If I want to glean some insight into the lives of degenerates, I don't really have to go very far. I can walk down to any number of bars and gaze at the losers drowning their sorrows in alcohol. I can walk down to the local county jail and watch the prisoners as they shamble around the yard. If I'm really desperate, I can saunter down to my local bookstore and look for the people grabbing Ann Coulter's latest tinfoil-encased rantings off the shelf.
Unfortunately, Barbet Schroeder seems to think that following around degenerate gamblers is somehow interesting. He opens the film with Elric (Jacques Dutronc) wandering under a bridge and masturbating onto the ground after a gambling loss. I pretty much learned everything I needed to know about the film right there. I was thinking I was going to see the credits after only 60 seconds, but alas, I had to sit through a lot more.
After going broke, Elric resorts to cheating and hooks up with Suzie (Bulle Ogier). Their relationship is predictably peculiar as they come up with a method to cheat at Roulette. Suzie is quite attractive and I had absolutely no idea what in the world would keep her anywhere near Elric, but she keeps tagging along since this is a movie and women will follow any loser around for no reason as long as the plot dictates it. What makes Suzie's attraction to Elric even more confusing is that she doesn't seem to enjoy gambling that much, whereas Elric simply can't stop. He derives some dysfunctional satisfaction from throwing all his money away. He can't walk away.
It's always fun to watch a film about people you don't understand and come to think of as scum of the earth. So gambling is an addiction. It's not like these people are crack babies or anything. Get some help and get off the silver screen. The whole subject just isn't that glamorous or engaging.
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