[EXPRESSO] The Card Counter (2021) | Hold ‘Em Close

Saw this was running as a candidate film in this Year’s Venice Film Festival, produced by Martin Scorsese, and was already in theathers here, so yeah, sounded quite like a good deal.

The short answer is yes, it was good, but also not great, here’s the longer one with context and stuff.

The Card Counter is the story of William Tell, an ex military with a gruesome, abhorrent past that after doing his time in prison, lives as a professional gambler, enjoying a very a regular, routine-led life by using his ability as a so called “card counter” to accumulate a very small fortune, without a definitive goal or dream, just repeating the circle, having learned the rules of that scene (and how to use them in his favour) as he did in prison.

One day his cherished routine is broken up by a mysterious woman that notices his talent and wants him to work with various financeers, and a young man in search of revenge, Kirk, that happens to share a common foe with William, all inevitably leading him to confront his past once again.

The premise is familiar enough but not cliched, the execution is nuanced and intense, the cinematography is amazing, the cast is relatively small but packed with familiar faces that do a great job, the characters are fairly complex and the drama is pretty good.

Aside from some choices in the final act that might be argued about, there’s no big flaw or flaws in The Card Counter, it’s not even overly long or feels slow until a certain point.

It just happens to be good….just that, nothing great, extraordinary, breathtaking, revolutionary or any other similar adjective useful for a single line review quote in a poster. Still, it is pretty good, go see it.

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