The Card Counter

The Card Counter ★★★★

Paul Schrader is a beast.

The man has a career as eclectic as they get, had a string of critical and commercial failures that would have put anyone else in retirement, and then comes out in his mid-seventies firing on all cylinders. There's something humorous that both this and FIRST REFORMED are variations of a particular style, and that style is one that Schrader has been championing since he wrote his first (and only) book TRANSCENDENTAL STYLE IN FILM: OZU, BRESSON, DREYER. It just took him a while to figure it out for himself.

Schrader's found another perfect lost-lonely-man in Oscar Isaacs, an actor that oozes intensity even when he with his back to the camera, and the complex (and beautifully shabby) world of gambling is a textured one for him to tell yet another story of broken people looking for some kind of future. Tiffany Haddish is a great choice because she's vibrating at a completely different level frequency than Isaacs, which honestly makes their relationship that much more interesting. And separated from the static stylistic rules that Schrader imposed on himself in FIRST REFORMED, there's some of that showy stuff of display I thought he had permanently left behind him.

Gimme more Schrader in this mode. I'm all in.

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