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10th September
2021
written by Adam

While interned in the United States Disciplinary Barracks for war crimes at Abu Ghraib, Private First Class Tillich, now self titled Willam Tell (Oscar Isaac) developed the unique ability to count and track cards in casino games. Now a professional gambler, Tell finds himself wanting to assist Cirk (Tye Sheridan), the son of a fellow soldier, attempting to set him on a more promising path. Meanwhile, former Commanding Officer Gordo (Willem Dafoe) seems to be taking up more and more real-estate in the minds of both William and Cirk, absolution will only come from dramatic action, but, that might also come in the form of a force tilt.Written and Directed by cinematic heavyweight Paul Schrader (Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, First Reformed), this study of a tortured soul, while familiar territory, is a masterpiece of composition and execution for both Schrader and Isaac. And, artistic direction and scoring brilliantly work to create a memorable aesthetic, churning and roiling as action unfolds at its metered pace, much the way a card shark rolls out one devastating hand at a time. Oddly discordant and perhaps mis-directed though, Tiffany Haddish’s performance as La Linda, the gambler’s broker, appears to be the roughest page to tame in this tale needing more polish to reach perfection. Regardless, this thinking piece begs for a second watch to catch the intricacies and full subtext. Worthy of your time this weekend, running one hour and forty nine minutes, The Card Counter is rated R.

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