‘The Card Counter’ (2021) | Movie Review

Directed By:

Paul Schrader

Written By:

Paul Schrader


Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan


Action, Drama, Thriller

Rated: R for some disturbing violence, graphic nudity, language and brief sexuality

In ‘The Card Counter’, Oscar Isaac plays William Tell, an ex-military interrogator and unassuming amateur card counter. He has kept his game and winnings relatively small to not draw any attention to himself, but is forced to come out of the shadows in the hopes of potentially saving a stranger, Tye Sheridan from destroying their life. He enlists the help of a professional representative of big money backers La Linda (Tiffany Haddish), but will he be able to compete enough to win, in this revenge thriller that’s intensity and suspense during a card game rivals ‘Casino Royale’

Let’s be fair, this story is not at all a ‘Spy Thriller’. Writer/Director Paul Shrader is one of the great storytellers of our time with iconic writing from ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Raging Bull’. ‘The Card Counter’ shares similar themes of revenge, misplaces justice but with good intentions, and stoic leading characters that Oscar Isaac nails with his performance.

Oscar Isaac has been one of my favorite actors in the past decade and again shows audiences how much range he has. He does a lot with nuance and subtlety. He is able to completely transform and I loved seeing his turn to anti-hero in this film. Makes me even more excited for his upcoming MoonKnight series. Tye Sheridan is the heart of the movie and does a great job of towing the line of being sympathetic and unsympathetic. Tiffany Haddish also shows some incredible acting range and was the standout performance for me.

Perhaps the story isn’t as gripping as Shrader’s previous work, however his artistic DNA is coursing through “The Card Counters’ veins in all the best ways. I loved getting into the mind of a card counter, learning about this characters dark past through fisheye lens making it claustrophobic and personal.

Overall, ‘The Card Counter’ is a suspenseful revenge thriller with great performances. Definitely check this film out if you haven’t yet.

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Patrick Beatty
Patrick Beatty

Patrick Beatty is a film critic and creator of PatrickBeattyReviews.com and the Gaggle of Geeks Podcast network. Watch him Friday’s on ABC4 Good Things Utah talk about movies and follow all his work in the link below.

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