Paul Schrader dazzles and overwhelm as poker player in 'The Card Counter'

If something cinema is guilty (not all of him) with his obsessive vocation for the consumption of entertainment is to sell each more or less common gesture as a

Paul Schrader dazzles and overwhelm as poker player in 'The Card Counter'

If something cinema is guilty (not all of him) with his obsessive vocation for the consumption of entertainment is to sell each more or less common gesture as an unique and unique experience. Paul Schrader, always pending the capacity of his trade to unravel misunderstandings, years ago he spends a good part of his time to wear the opposite. All, including himself. "Playing poker, for example, does not have anything of glamorous, it is about using a huge amount of time in calculation of probabilities, it is boring, tired and the hotels where the games take place are tremendously ugly," he says to place at least at least The scene of 'The Card Counter', its last prodigy after the monumental 'Reverend', 2017.

The tape, in fact, stops in the life of a professional player. With the same meticulousness that 45 years ago in 'taxi driver' followed the routine existence of a Vietnam excommunication enclosed in a taxi, now the film walks after each of a man's man's man's boys. And so until one day the character interpreted with a perfect coldness by Oscar Isaac runs up with the past of him. Suddenly, a young man (Tye Sheridan) proposes to assassinate the one responsible for the suicide of his father. Both the progenitor who died and the protagonist were torturers in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq at the orders of the man who must die (Willem Dafoe).

As it is already a rule in the filmography of Schrader, everything revolves on the uncertainty of the distant possibility of redemption. Or forgiveness. The Character of Isaac believes seeing in the decapiorn proposal an opportunity to be saved. If he convinces the kid's mistake, who knows if he will not be exempt from all the mistakes of his past. Or, more radical, a sacrifice is enough to abjure the absurdity of everything and access, although it is only an instant, to the grace of meaning.

The film rushes from the first second by a spiral slope that like a whirlwind catches the viewer look without redemption as possible. The whole tape runs on the head of a player trapped in the routine of each of his calculations, from each of his expects, from each of his infinite and tiny failures, from each of his terribly equal and inexorably ugly hotels. Schrader demonstrates to be more in form than ever with a new portrait of the despair so infected with anger as a clairvoyant.

If you want the movie it is exactly the opposite of a movie of poker players to use. There is no more emotion than the ridicule of losing again and again with the saddest collection of losers (although they win), there is no more suspense than the gesture protocol of a letter that turns face up to confirm the defeat, there is no more tension That the vacuum. Without remedy.

The prodigious is to see how the director of 'El Reverend' was engineered to turn this scenario desolate into the most febrile reconstruction of a loneliness that interpels us. Suddenly, the daily gesture of a game craftsman becomes the perfect metaphor of a time, ours, essentially ugly. Each time the Isaac character reaches a new hotel he covers each object of the room with a white sheet as if of a conceptual work of Christo treated. It is the particular guerrilla of him against the unpleasant thing that ends up being almost everything.

The result is a film that wants to be an overwhelming experience and that is better defined by everything that denies than for its certainties. It is a film that lives happy and feverish in each of the contradictions of a guilty hero, a player of letters that only aspires to a decent salary and an alleged act of justice that is nothing more than the most obvious exercise of perdition. Shock, poker stinks.

Updated Date: 04 September 2021, 14:38

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