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  • Writer's pictureSteve

The Card Counter (2021)

You usually know what you're getting with Paul Schrader. That's not always a bad thing, but sometimes it is. Fortunately, we are getting a treat with this understated thriller which does its best to make you think it isn't exactly that, until it all comes over all holy cow.

Card Counter and professional gambler Isaac likes to bet small and stay under the radar, despite offers from backers to take him to the big time. He says no until he finds what he sees as a good reason to make alot of money quickly, rather than quite bit over a longer period of time, sacrificing his anonymity for celebrity in the process.

Gritty though still glamorous, this is often very uncomfortable to watch, showing unfiltered scenes of torture which, even to my wizened sensibilities, seemed unrelentingly brutal.

Isaac is one of my favourite actors working today and he excels here under Schrader's guidance and the rest of the cast are just as formidable. A considered and effective script does the project no harm either.

Overall, an ultimately satisfying, if somewhat slow-burn, experience that is worth investing your time in. One of Schrader's more impressive ventures in recent times.


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