*Not a ton to spoil…
William Tell is a gambler and former serviceman who sets out to reform a young man seeking revenge on a mutual enemy from their past. Tell just wants to play cards. His spartan existence on the casino trail is shattered when he is approached by Cirk, a vulnerable and angry young man seeking help to execute his plan for revenge on a military colonel. Tell sees a chance at redemption through his relationship with Cirk.
“This is how it starts. It builds and builds, has a life of its own.”
The new film The Card Counter is the type of movie that now a days no one will see in theater, but will catch on with a streamer and people will ask how they missed it. Why does that happen? Maybe it is advertising, perhaps it’s the nature of the film industry in 2021, or it could just be simple bad luck. Whatever it is, I think these are the type of movies we need to see more of to balance, as the industry continues to churn out superhero content. Simple stories involving well written characters. This particular movie is not going to blow anyone away, but it is good entertainment and has a couple memorable performances.
The Card Counter directed by the great Paul Schrader, is about a mysterious man William Tell (Oscar Isaac) who seems to be really good at all things Cards. He travels from Casino to Casino winning money, but keeping it small as he says in order to stay off the radar. He gets recruited by La Linda (Tiffany Haddish) to join a group backed by investors to get to the top of the poker world. While traveling he meets Cirk (Tye Sheridan) and they decided to stay together when they realize they have a common enemy in Major John Gordo (Willem Dafoe). What I liked though about the movie was how they portrayed the life of a traveling poker player. We have seen movies like 21, Swingers, or even Rainman which can glamorize card counting, and winning. However, this feels much more realistic to a life that someone in that industry would lead.
I think the movie has flaws too though and one of them is mainly that the movie feels like it wants to be this prestigious art piece. Usually when I see a movie try to do that it never works, and it did not totally work here as well. Tiffany Haddish trying to be some sort of gangster type, and Tye Sheridan trying to be this scared bad ass, both felt like they could have been in different movies. So The tone for all the characters did not quite match up with the story being presented on screen.
Stock Neutral – Oscar Isaac
He is one of the biggest stars we have today, and is really doing a good job of the one for them one for me strategy. He will do Star Wars, X-Men, or Dune movies, but also small indie films that really show his range. So he can do it all and has the star power now to have some control. Anything he does now is must watch.
Stock Down – Tiffany Haddish
Since her incredible breakout in Girls Trip, she has never really lived up to that character. She has done a ton of different roles in comedy, and in drama and for me she is in the Rebel Wilson zone. Where when she comes up on screen right now I just do not enjoy seeing them. Here it feels like her character just feels completely off, so I hope she can turn it back around soon.
*A couple other tidbits
- Willem Dafoe just was not in the movie very much, but he works with Paul Schrader all the time so it seems like a fun cameo appearance.
- The flashback scenes were a whirlwind, and again felt like a different movie.
- Tye Sheridan is a good actor, we just need to find the right roles for him.
Like I said above I think this is the type of movie that will catch on with a certain group of movie fans. I do not think it is great by any means, but it is good enough to deserve mention and I think will play well on a streamer.
*You can find my 2021 Movie Rankings here.
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.
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