Drama films

The Card Counter Review – Don’t Bet On It | Drama films

WWith its troubled lone protagonist lurking in a shady nocturnal underworld, this grimy tale of a former con-man turned pro gamer is the archetypal Paul Schrader material. And in Oscar Isaac’s enigmatic blackjack player “William Tell,” with his wary hooded eyes and closed face, the film has a brooding central performance. So it’s a shame that much of its promise is marred by carelessness, both in writing and elsewhere.

The character of Isaac – he calls himself “Bill,” but the anonymous name, like everything else about him, is designed to leave no trace – is male of habit. Constantly on the move, it operates at the far end of the low-stakes gaming circuit. But despite his approach under the radar, two people notice him. La Linda (misinterpreted and uncomfortable Tiffany Haddish in the role) sees his potential and tries to recruit him into her stable of players. And Cirk (Tye Sheridan), a rootless kid with a half-formed plan, hopes to persuade him to take revenge on a common enemy. Instead, Bill invites Cirk to join him on the casino circuit.

That the film asks us questions is not, in and of itself, a bad thing. But scenes that lead nowhere – an aborted visit to a character in prison, for example – as well as devices that are clearly included for their visual impact rather than for the credibility of Bill’s character ultimately undermine the integrity of the storytelling. .