The Card Counter (Paul Schrader)

Started by WorldForgot, July 27, 2021, 10:31:11 AM

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"Redemption is the long game in Paul Schrader’s THE CARD COUNTER. Told with Schrader’s trademark cinematic intensity, the revenge thriller tells the story of an ex-military interrogator turned gambler haunted by the ghosts of his past decisions, and features riveting performances from stars Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan and Willem Dafoe."

Quote from: WorldForgot on June 18, 2020, 12:35:18 PM
The Card Counter "livestream" Q&A currently archived at HanwayFilms

Hand-made films, guilt, Dune, and Bruce Willis' contract.


I'll be watching this in a while, maybe this weekend.

What did you all think?


I'm concerned I can't lower my expectations enough, having hated First Reformed.


If you hate First Reformed, I cannot imagining liking this. It's the exact same premise. Schrader has made a career out of Mad Libs. Playing "Taxi Driver if..". Your enjoyment depends on how his lonely man submerges his guilt. Poker is an interesting subject--the mundanity and monotony of it. Isaac's performance is perfectly modulated. Haddish/Sherdian are ghastly but their amateurness creates an overall surreal vibe to the film


If you like Schrader you'll like it. It was very much my shit, but if you hated First Reformed, skip it lol


Quote from: wilberfan on September 30, 2021, 04:08:07 PM
I'm concerned I can't lower my expectations enough, having hated First Reformed.

Well, I guess I lowered my expectations just enough.

It was fine.  Three-stars out of five. I liked the leads (including Haddish).  The Venn Diagram of this and Hard Eight would be interesting to see.


Liked it! There's always the clunky Schrader material: can't bet that much on romance being transcendent and write bad characters for women. Haddish managed to be a warm presence despite delivering every line like a video game cutscene from the early 2000s: you can feel like you're holding a giant Xbox controller.

But the main relationship of the movie is between Isaac and Tree of Life Kid and every scene between the two works.

Spoiler: ShowHide
You've got a guy unable to forgive himself. Should he? That's the thing...I have no idea...The movie doesn't make me hate the guy despite what he's done, but I don't think it is, in any way, a redemption arc. The movie doesn't shy away from the horror; well, it could have been more frontal, but the distorted flashbacks present in a very unique way the madness of being there as a torturer, which is, yes, American-centric, but how many American movies showed that reality in such a visual striking way recently?

He wraps his hotel rooms. He wants to live the most quiet life possible. He doesn't seem to want anything, actually. I wondered how painful these casinos must seem to the guy if he can't stand hotel rooms? Anyway, Tree of Life Kid arrives, looking weirder and weirder with time, a gift from Terrence Malick casting agents, and suddenly forgiving yourself isn't an issue because saving somebody else feels less selfish and, frankly, easier—and I loved this dynamic between Isaac and ToLK throughout The Card Counter. I wasn't surprised by the twist; I knew the Kid wouldn't accept living his life, and I knew it would lead Isaac to a path of revenge, but I wasn't ready for how calm the scene between him and Dafoe would be. That's what evil looks like too. Pure calmness...

Then it ends with Haddish and I don't understand why?



Really dug this film's stoic essence, great performances and an interesting sound design sets this apart from First Reformed as its own thing formally; though they could easily be considered companion pieces. There's a dual-fish-eye effect that I'm not sure I've ever seen before, that knocked me back as much as its bleak pendulum.


Finally saw this. Thought it was excellent. One of my new favourite Schrader joints. Better than at least 8 of the Academy Awards' Best Picture nominees.