The Card Counter (2021) Film Review
In the middle of Paul Schrader‘s The card counter, William Tell is a man who is finally released after years in prison. His ghost is a nomad who taught himself to count cards and cheat the gambling system. That’s how you survive. With a couple of suitcases and depending on the comfort of the motel rooms. Every night or day, she covers every piece of furniture in fabric and sits down and logs herself to… sleep. What you need to relax. Because there is nothing traditional about Tell. Not even how he performs when it’s time to rest. He’s a mystery, and that’s okay. Schrader’s universe is full of them.
When Tell is emotionally forced to land on this social plane, he meets a young man with a troubled past and a desire for revenge. The Tell opens, and that’s when we discover what’s behind the puzzle Schrader has put together for us. Again, nothing traditional. Rather, in how the director conveys narrative meaning in current cinema. You know, when you’re in Schrader’s hands, and as unpleasant as his world is, sometimes it’s just magnetic forces. Tell’s story draws you in and never lets you go.
But it’s all in Schrader’s storytelling style. As usual The card counter it does not follow the usual structure of plot or characterization. However, there is an emotional gravitational pull that only grows over time. The characters are good, in their own sense. They will do good in this world, but considering which code? The moral based tale The card counter, written and directed by veteran Schrader, the director who has an unbiased force on social media and speaks directly to you when needed. It holds no boundaries when it comes to the world of their true role in a rotten modern society where values turn towards convenience and yes, the outrage is usually selective and directed at what the media deems appropriate.
In The card counter, the gambler decides to help the young man while studying potential success as a poker player and lover. He decides to do whatever it takes to tip the scales in his favor. If he wins, he helps the kid return to normal life and forget reality, which Tell is partially responsible for. At least that’s what he feels. The final decision in the third act sets the film on Schrader’s path to subjugate humanity to its darkest elements. Tell will succeed, we think. But was it really necessary?
This is not an impressive film. Its emotional aspect follows Schrader’s style and rules. If you know his career, you can already decide if this is your kind of movie. Oscar Isaac, Tye Sheridan and Tiffany Haddish they are exceptional in leading the complex plot.