Monday, October 4, 2021

The Card Counter - 3 stars - THEATERS - September 10, 2021

The Card Counter rolls slow, almost dream-like.  The actors mumble and deliver most of their dialog seated.  Oscar Isaac plays William Tell, a gambling prodigy wracked with guilt over his war crimes as a military interrogator.  Traveling a casino circuit, Isaac seems content winning just enough to cover expenses and a little more.  Tiffany Haddish recognizes his talent and agrees to stake him to bigger games, an offer that promises a better life and even relationship.  The tension begins when a young man named Cirk (Kirk with a C) played by Tye Sheridan, recognizes Isaac.  He proposes a revenge scheme against William Defoe, the officer who led men in the "enhanced interrogation" techniques that land them in prison.  Paul Schrader keeps this slow steady tale fascinating, tightening his grip on us as The Card Counter races to its conclusion.  Don't expect any uplift but do expect a mesmerizing time.