The Luck Of The Draw
The 2021 film Card Counter by Paul Schrader is the film critics love and what audiences could do without. This bag of mixed reviews stars Oscar Isaac as a soldier turned card counter ‘Will Tell’ in a slow burn film about revenge, redemption, and poker…
Whether you are a fan of all Finnish online casinos without registration or prefer classic land-based gaming, Card Counter will have you missing the spinning slots and velvet card tables. It’s great to see Isaac rake up the winnings while performing moving monologues on risks and reward. However, it’s just not enough to tie the film together.
Card Counter has a mix of stellar and subpar performances by many big names in Hollywood. These include:
It’s a great cast, and Paul Schrader has had a few high rated notable films in his career. However, audiences wouldn’t exactly call this Schraders next Hitchcock/Truffaut. While Oscar Isaac and William Dafoe offer some of their best work to the piece, Sheridan and Haddish are flat by comparison.
The overall plot centres around William Tell, a former prison guard of Abu Ghraib prison. To escape the nightmares of extreme torture techniques used in prison, Will runs the poker circuit to earn small fortunes counting cards.
He eventually encounters La Linda, Haddish’s character, when she offers him a ticket to the big leagues. He rejects it, only to run into Sheridan, who is playing a young Cirk. It’s revealed that Cirk is the son of an Abu Ghraib prisoner, looking for revenge on the prison’s warden Major John Gordo, played by William Dafoe.
It seems exciting, though a bit convoluted. Will accepts La Linda’s offer and brings Cirk on the road with him, hoping to win enough money to pay off Cirks debts and convince him against revenge.
Somewhere along the way, they play poker.
For a movie on card counting and revenge, it’s surprising how much time is spent at the casino bar making small talk. Don’t get us wrong; we all love a good post-game drink. Yet the number of ‘stop, talk, and drink’ scenes that added little to the plot were abundant and hard to get through.
The poker scenes are dense, favourable to those who love the casino, but hard to understand for newbies. Though it’s dryer than a salty cracker in the dessert, Card Counter does succeed in one thing- making you miss the casinos.
The ending is something you will either love or hate. It was like Card Counter wanted to be too many movies at once while failing to be any of them.
Don’t get us wrong; the story had a good premise. Yet even the best stories fall flat with bad storytelling.
The Final Verdict
Though critics liked Card Counter’s slow-burn, character performances, and artistic style shots, overall audience scores deemed Schrader’s film a soft pass. With a low 42% audience score, 2021’s Card Counter offers an OK experience for card buffs, at best R-rated, background noise at worst.
What are your thoughts on Card Counter? Do you agree with the audience score, or is this Oscar Isaac film your new favourite?
The Luck Of The Draw The 2021 film Card Counter by Paul Schrader is the film critics love and what audiences could do without. This bag of mixed reviews stars Oscar Isaac as a soldier turned card counter ‘Will Tell’ in a slow burn film about revenge, redemption, and poker… Whether you are a fan
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