THE CARD COUNTER (2021)
A bland film that suffers from directionless storytelling and a lack of truly any interesting developments that wastes the talents of its cast, The Card Counter is certainly one of the worst films of the year so far.
Oscar Isaac stars as a gambler and former serviceman who takes a young man hellbent on revenge (Tye Sheridan) under his wing in an attempt to guide the man to a better future in an attempt for his own redemption. Quite simply, The Card Counter is flat-out boring. Though Isaac is solid in this brooding role, he and the rest of the cast (including Tiffany Haddish and Willem Dafoe) fall victim to an emotionless plot. Haddish herself is given absolutely nothing to work with in her role, a hollow character that dampens the actor’s talents. Dafoe, as the villain, is the Dafoe we all know and love, but muted in delivery simply because there is nothing meaty enough for him to build upon. Sheridan is unremarkable, and not because of anything he lacks bringing to the table.
Paul Schrader’s latest outing tries to be an intelligent drama that peals back the pieces methodically, but every turn lacks a punch and any semblance of interesting hooks. This is a film that doesn’t know what it wants to be, nor which characters to focus on. The most compelling piece of the film is the soundtrack that provides a mix of tepid anxiety and suspense that ultimately doesn’t have a payoff. Schrader continues to deliver lackluster stories at the expense of the talent involved, a shame for the actors that took the time to be a part of the production.
The Card Counter hits theaters September 10th, 2021.
Photo from Focus Features