The Card Counter
Drama | English | 112 minutes
William Tell learned to count cards while serving time in military prison. After being released he’s determined to be a professional card player. At a casino, he meets La Linda who manages a group of investors who back talented card players in exchange for a percentage of the winnings. William declines La Linda’s proposal but keeps in touch with her. William meets a young man, Cirk Baufort, who has deep scars from his role torturing Abu Ghraib prisoners. Like William, Cirk did time in military prison and was dishonorably discharged. He became a drug addict and incurred huge debts. William informs La Linda he’d like to participate in the World Series of Poker so he can make enough money to clear Cirk’s debts and point him in the right direction. William feels he is lucky at the poker table and he’ll be lucky helping Cirk straighten out his life. But to help a damaged person like Cirk, William will need more than luck.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 86%
- Metacritic Score: 77
- Cahiers du Cinéma: Nominated Best Film
- Chicago Film Critics Association Awards: Nominated, Best Original Screenplay (Paul Schrader)
- Gotham Awards: Nominated, Best Screenplay (Paul Schrader); Outstanding Lead Performance (Oscar Isaac)
- National Board of Review: Listed, Top Ten Independent Films of the Year
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Schrader has carpentered a strong and vehement film, hypnotically watchable and squalid with nightmarish flashbacks. There’s a horrible, queasy urgency to this high-stakes game.
THE CARD COUNTER denounces more than a misguided war; it decries the inherently corrupting militarization of American society at large, and also the political hubris that goes with it. Above all, the film decries the impunity that the war’s masterminds and the country’s leaders enjoyed while William and other frontline grunts took the blame.
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