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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
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 »
Fascinating thriller is not always on target but worth a look.
A female police detective (Stefania Rocca), who works for the cyber crime unit in Rome. She receives an mysterious e-mail that the recent tourist is captured by the kidnapper. This psychopath wants to play poker on-line with the police, this crazed person rules are simple if you can beat him for three games. He promises, he will let his victim go if you can beat him. A British police officer (Liam Cunningham) comes to help the Italian police officers to catch the killer. But this murderer is so good at poker and he manages to keep the police away from finding him. Their only option is finding a young brilliant poker player (Silvio Muccino), who could save lives of the psychopath's would-be victims.
Directed by Dario Argento (Do you like Hitchcock ?, Opera, Two Evil Eyes) made an fairly intriguing suspense-thriller that was made before "Untraceable", which it has some of the same ideas. This Italian import is actually well dubbed in English, good performances by the leads, some suspense but flawed and sometimes incredibly absurd (not to mention, not everything in the story makes sense). It is one of the few Argento's movies doesn't have graphic gory violence or memorable set-pieces. Also, it is one of Argento's most straightforward films, although not one of his best works as a filmmaker.
The DVD has an good anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1) transfer and an decent Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. The DVD has an fairly interesting commentary track by film critic Alan Jones, interview with the director, interview with Claudio Simonetti (Who worked on most Argento's films) and more. Perphas the problem with the film is the conclusion, the identity of the villain is unexpected but the suspense at the climax is played for unintentional laughs and an unbelievable ending as well. "The Card Player" does have some dark humour, the cinematography is good and it's a modest Argento movie. Fans of the director's work will enjoy this best. Written by the filmmaker and Franco Ferrini (Once Upon a Time in America, The Stendhal Syndrome, Trauma). Worth a look. (*** 1/2 out of *****).
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