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The young French writer-director Frederic Balekdjian makes his feature bow with The Gamblers (Les mauvaises joueurs), a gritty urban crime drama and coming-of-age tale that has borne favorable comparisons to Scorsese's Mean Streets, Robert Mulligan's Bloodbrothers, and James Toback's Fingers. Pascal Elbe portrays Vahe, a con man running scams in the Parisian garment district with his buddies, whose sensitive conscience outstrips his career. After Vahe's girlfriend splits, he befriends her illegal immigrant brother, Yuen - and soon becomes enmeshed in a bitter dispute between the young man and the smugglers demanding extra recompense for slipping Yuen into the country undeterred. Torn in half, Vahe - who teeters on the threshold between compassion and dishonest manipulation, between honoring his friends and honoring his fellow con-men - struggles to determine his values and his loyalties, before all hell breaks loose. Simon Abkarian and Isaac Sharry co-star. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi