The Card Counter (Paul Schrader – 2021) B-

Oscar Isaac delivers with a very good performance as an ex-military interrogator who learned card counting in prison and is now a professional gambler. Of course he caries trauma and baggage from his time applying “enhanced interrogation techniques” for which he was one of the few who served time for since he was in some of those infamous pictures. Thing is for this film to really work beyond the cool style, card playing and endless days on the road and casinos we have to buy the emotional center. The relationship he forges with the Tye Sheridan character seems to come out of nowhere. Tiffany Haddish’s character is ok, but she is woefully miscast here and at no point did I believe she is that character rather than just acting and saying lines. Schrader excels at crafting those horribly flawed depressed and at times violent men. This one misses the mark a bit for me.

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