The Card Counter

The Card Counter ★★★½

So, apparently every play Oscar Isaac made during his games of blackjack in this film made no actual sense. Lol. C’mon Schrader, I expected more from you, especially when your entire film is centered around a ‘card counter’ - atleast make his actions believable during those sequences.

Aside from that (and some other gripes that I’ll discuss in a moment), I did enjoy this film quite a bit. The character study approach to storytelling that was present in ‘First Reformed’ is also present here, with a lot of Oscar Isaac narration. I’m quite a fan of that existential solitaire type of storytelling, it suits really well for the types of people Schrader explores in his films as of late.

The score and cinematography are both absolutely fantastic (and trippy in a great way). The light tunnel sequence was beautiful, one of my favorite scenes of 2021 hands down!

Another con to note though, is that Tiffany Haddish wasn’t prepared for this role tbh, I don’t think she’s capable of dramatic acting (to give her credit though, her comedic line delivery was great whenever the film sparingly called for it), but yeah, to me she felt incredibly miscast, and thus it made the film itself seem tonally inconsistent a little bit. On the other end of the acting spectrum though, Oscar Isaac especially gives an outstanding performance - his character felt real and lived-in thanks to his power-house performance, and Tye Sheridan wasn’t too bad. Also, Willem Dafoe’s inclusion was such a great surprise! I hadn’t seen the trailer prior to watching so I had no clue he was in this. He was great as usual.

So yeah, overall, it was a good watch with some outstanding moments scattered throughout, but the film also had some major cons at the end of the day too. But the experimental way of storytelling, Oscar Isaac’s performance and the score/cinematography help elevate this film into something noteworthy despite its flaws. So though it’s not anywhere near the home run for Schrader that ‘First Reformed’ was (IMO a masterpiece), I’d still recommend to check this one out.

Block or Report