The Card Player (2004)
"Il cartaio" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  2 January 2004 (Italy)
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Ratings: 4.9/10 from 3,938 users   Metascore: 48/100
Reviews: 72 user | 92 critic | 6 from

A Rome policewoman teams up with a British Interpol agent to find a crafty serial killer whom plays a taunting game of cat-and-mouse with the police by abducting and killing young women and showing it over an Internet web cam.



(screenplay), (story), 4 more credits »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anna Mari
John Brennan
Adalberto Maria Merli ...
Police Commissioner
Carlo Sturni
Fiore Argento ...
Lucia Marini
Mia Benedetta ...
Giovanni Visentin ...
C.I.D. Chief
Claudio Mazzenga ...
Conchita Puglisi ...
Micaela Pignatelli ...
Professor Terzi
Luis Molteni ...
Carlo Giuseppe Gabardini ...
Anti-Hacker #1
Alessandro Mistichelli ...
Anti-Hacker #2


In Rome, after the abduction of a British tourist, the police inspector Anna Mari is contacted by the criminal, who self-entitles The Card Player, challenging the police department to dispute a video poker with him where the prize would be the life of the victim. The Chief of Police refuses to participate and the victim is tortured and killed in front of an Internet web cam. The British detective John Brennan is assigned to investigate the case and when another woman is kidnapped, they invite the addicted player Remo to play for the police. Anna and John lead the investigation trying to disclose who might be the serial-killer. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A serial killer with a vice for Video Poker.


Mystery | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

2 January 2004 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Card Player  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


€2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$874,371 (Italy) (2 January 2004)


$1,479,042 (Italy) (9 January 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The role of the cop was intended for Mathieu Kassovitz but he withdrew when he was offered the chance to direct Gothika (2003). It was eventually given to Liam Cunningham and the name changed from John Russo to John Brennan. See more »


Referenced in Do You Like Hitchcock? (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

A different Argento, to be sure, but that's not bad Argento!
2 April 2004 | by (Stockholm, Sweden) – See all my reviews

I have read the reviews complaining about that Dario has abandoned his style and all the gore to produce a tame TV-thriller. Far from the truth, according to me! I really think that this is the best he has done since "Opera". Granted, his stylish touch might seem to be muted compared to the baroque thriller of the 70s and 80s, but this cold and bleak atmosphere that he conjures up this time along with very brightly lit camera-work for most of the scenes, is something I enjoyed throughout! Sure, the gore is almost totally absent (apart from one scene), but as a whole this picture is much more efficiently done. The pace is fluent and unlike most of his other movies, there is actually no point where the characters just stand around and talk (and sometimes his players have been involved in some truly atrocious conversation) to fill out the time.

*MINOR SPOILER* And in "Il cartaio" the three main actors are actually very good! They are people you can care about and when they are in danger or die, you feel sorry for them. *END OF SPOILER* Like I mentioned before, I enjoyed the bleak look of the always classy camera-work in every frame of an Argento picture! And Claudio Simonetti's score is his best in years even though you might be just a little bit tired of it by the time the movie reaches it's conclusion. And talking about the finale, I found it both interesting, but at the same time also maybe a little bit of a letdown. However, the endings have been a bit weak lately in Dario's films. Not since "Tenebrae" has there been a really powerful conclusion. And two minor complaints was too easy to guess who the killer was. This has been mentioned before and I think it is true. The killer's identity could have been better camouflaged without a "certain scene" (you will know which one). And the card scenes went on too long on two occasions. The constant screaming from the victims became annoying in these scenes and I almost wanted them to die just to make them shut up! Otherwise, his best work in years and a film where he is not just content with repeating an old formula (like in "Sleepless" which I liked anyhow), but is actually trying to find a whole new path in his art.

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