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Review | The Card Counter – Oscar Isaac and Willem Dafoe star in a thriller full of twists and turns

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Film seen at the Rio 2022 Film Festival.

The world of playing cards is a fascinating world for many people, because when you see the experts playing, you realize that these people have a unique talent, which is extremely necessary to play this type of game. is for no one. You have to have certain skills – concentration, dexterity, attention, insight, concentration – and you have to have them all together or you’re not a good player. It is in this atmosphere that the viewer enters the world of ‘O Contador de Cartas’, an action thriller that was the subject of a unique exhibition during a Telecine session during the Rio 2022 Festival and which just arrived for platform subscribers.

William Tell (Oscar Isaac) is an expert card player. Poker, trick, hole, whatever: he is good, very good at what he does. But he likes to keep a low profile, earn little and quietly, so as not to attract attention, because he has a dark past that he wouldn’t want to shed light on. After another game in which he wins it all, he is approached by La Linda (Tiffany Haddish), a talent scout in the field who is looking to manage good players looking for rich sponsors, willing to invest in their careers and share the profits. Tell declines the invitation, but changes his mind after meeting young Cirk (Tye Sheridan), the son of an old acquaintance from his past, who is determined to exact revenge on Gordo (Willem Dafoe). In an attempt to dissuade the boy, Tell decides to go into the professional gambling business, certain that he will make enough money to change Cirk’s mind.

Tacky and dragging, ‘The Letter Counter’ attempts to construct a thriller with noir narration by the voice of Oscar Isaac, but the result is an hour and fifty minutes of ill-disguised arrogance. Written and directed by Paul Schrader (“Hunting Season”), the film attempts to recapture the acidic likability of Schrader-penned “Taxi Driver,” but what it achieves is a weak, forced, testosterone-filled little story.

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In order to build a pleasant protagonist, the script presents him almost as a submissive guy, disinterested in the world, to, after an hour, try to make the spectator accept him as a badass, taker, full of confidence in him from night to day. Tell says he’s not a card counter (despite the movie’s title), but in practice he counts cards, guessing absolutely every possible move in the world not just because he’s spent years devote himself to the technique, but also because he can read people. On top of that, the character’s journey takes a path of nothing to see, unnecessarily dark and torturous, to justify his absence from the world and glorify his final achievements. Speak seriously.

Despite the zero-immersive story and Oscar Isaac’s unconvincing cast (his phone scenes sound like an actor early in his career), ‘The Card Counter’ is well done, especially in the casino shots, showing the game in Yes. A film to pass the time, with a well-known cast and an executive produced by Martin Scorsese, to attract the public.

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