Monday, September 6, 2021

The Card Counter Movie Review

Oscar Isaac stars in The Card Counter

Under the Radar

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: 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.

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan, and Willem Dafoe

What's Good: Isaac takes a character with "modest goals" and surfs the craziness of Schrader's (latest) masterpiece to epic heights in The Card Counter. His performance is Oscar-deserving, opposite a foreboding background of death, penance and revenge. Ocean's Eleven, it ain't, but rather a blissfully daring & original upgrade that favors reasoning and subtlety over the usual glamour and glitz. The soundtrack (deep breathing and all) is first rate, as is Alexander Dynan's cinematography. Schrader takes care of the rest, allowing Isaac and the film's lone ray of sunshine (Haddish, who continues to make me happy every time I see her on screen) to win us over.

What's Not: It's pretty dark and gloomy (for some.) Otherwise, close to perfect.

Budget: N/A

Runtime: 112 minutes

Target Audience: Fans of Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive (which Isaac (coincidentally) co-starred in.)

Bottom Line: Isaac seems to have been on the cusp of stardom for some time, but this performance should signal his arrival as one of Hollywood's elite. Whether that includes a nod for Best Actor remains to be seen, but at the very least, The Card Counter should trump whatever you had planned this weekend (including the opening of the NFL regular season.) A must see.
GradeA (This close to an A+)