Y’ever read about a movie and say out loud, “This is a movie custom made for me and I have no idea who on earth else will enjoy it”? I had that reaction reading about The Card Counter, the upcoming journey into darkness from the masterful Paul Schrader (First Reformed, Taxi Driver). It’s stacked with an eclectic cast (like it), follows broken characters down a suspense-filled path of revenge (love it), and is centered around playing poker (gotta have it!!). Best of all: We’ve got the first look at The Card Counter‘s star, Oscar Isaac.
Now, you will notice that despite the film’s title and subject matter, there are no cards to count in this picture. Instead, there is one (1) confused-looking Isaac, one (1) chair tied up and covered in a sheet, one (1) gun, and a bunch (a bunch) of Gregory Lawrence feelings of excitement and audacity. Schrader has always been a stubborn, singular filmmaker, and I applaud his decision not only to center such a “cool genre” around such an “uncool activity” like professional poker, but his decision to release an initial picture that has so little going on. The moment production continues on this, and the moment I can learn what co-stars Tye Sheridan (like it), Willem Dafoe (love it), and Tiffany Haddish (gotta have it!) look like in the film, is a moment I will go all in on. Even if I’m alone at the table.
Check out the first look at Isaac in The Card Counter below, followed by its official synopsis. For more on Mr. Schrader, here’s our review of First Reformed.
Tell (Isaac) just wants to play cards. His spartan existence on the casino trail is shattered when he is approached by Cirk (Sheridan), a vulnerable and angry young man seeking help to execute his plan for revenge on a military colonel (Dafoe). Tell sees a chance at redemption through his relationship with Cirk. Gaining backing from mysterious gambling financier La Linda (Haddish), Tell takes Cirk with him on the road, going from casino to casino until the unlikely trio set their sights on winning a World Series of poker tournament. But keeping Cirk on the straight-and-narrow proves impossible, dragging Tell back into the darkness of his past.