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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 3,901 users   Metascore: 48/100
Reviews: 72 user | 91 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

Not as bad as people say
22 January 2004 | by (Glasgow, Scotland) – See all my reviews

After getting almost unanimously negative reviews, I was dreading watching IL CARTAIO. It turns out that the film is not bad at all. No, it's not another SUSPIRIA, but nor is it a PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, thankfully. People keep going on about the absence of Argento's trademark style. Well, I want to know what style that would be? Suspiria's? Phenomena's? The Stendhal Syndrome's? I think you get my point. Argento doesn't have one single style -- he had many, and I think that Il Cartaio's style is different rather than absent. I personally liked the camerawork and the cold look of the film. The use of shadow is really good, and I think this has got to be the only film Argento has done that is obviously set in the winter. It gave everything an eery look.

It's a tightly constructed little thriller with a lot of very tense set-piece scenes. The lack of gore confused me a bit, but everyone seems to forget the impalement of a certain character. That, to me, was pretty gory although admittedly not flamboyant. In many ways it seems a lot like the antithesis of Non Ho Sonno, which was extremely over the top in terms of violence.

I think Tenebre was the last film Argento did that received almost unanimous critical acclaim on its initial release. All of his other triumphs since then have grown on people over the years. I don't think Il Cartaio will be any different.

17 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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