The Card Counter (2021) Poster

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4/10
An interesting premise, but man, was the execution poor
Spiderboy81015 September 2021
I was in the movie theater a few weeks ago and saw a poster for this movie which I had never heard of before. It had Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Willam Dafoe, and was produced by Martin Scorsese, how had I not heard of it? Then, a few minutes later, I saw the trailer. It looked interesting, showing an army veteran going into gambling while dealing with his past. It seemed like it would be pretty good.

Key word there is "seemed"

This movie started off pretty well, with Oscar Issac's character playing blackjack while, in typical Scorsese fashion, narrating to us how counting cards works. However, it's only downhill from there. The movie seems to have an identity crisis, with two different plots that never seem to mesh together well. Not to mention the fact that either plot really isn't that interesting. The card playing scenes are the best parts of the movie, but it takes forever to get to them.

(Side Tangent: You gotta love how this movie's about someone who learned how to cheat at blackjack, and then spends the whole movie playing poker. Like, it's literally the title of the movie, how do you mess this up? Tangent over.)

One of the few good things about this movie is the performances. While the script is pretty meh, the cast does the best they can with it, and they do well. I mean, they're basically reading nothing, but at least they read it well.

"The Card Counter" had promise, but almost instantly fell on its face. The slow pacing, the bland story, and the general lack of any real substance to anything happening makes it a rather forgettable movie. There isn't much to gain from watching this, so don't feel bad if you miss it. There's much better things to watch right now.
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2/10
Is it Kirk with a C? Or The Card Counter with an F?
schoolfa14 September 2021
Honestly shockingly boring. Literally the most memorable part of the movie was the "Kirk with a C" line. The only time the audience in the theatre laughed or made noise. Movie is not memorable, no one in the group who watched it can remember the movie title. It's been called "The Card Collector, The Gambler" etc... In all seriousness though, the one plus is the social commentary on the torture in Iraq. Which is why the movie gets a 2 not a 1. Also Haddish's tone doesn't fit the movie at all. Every time she speaks it almost sounds like she's being dubbed into the film after the fact. Her voice is almost in a comedic or playful tone, which is quite jarring when she's responding to the dark tone of all the other characters and Oscar's serious lines... And it's not for comedic relief, all her speech regardless of context sounds like that in the film. Unfitting.
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3/10
As Flat as an Opened Bottle of Year-Old Beer
dwknuj12 September 2021
I respect Paul Schaeder. I respect him so much that I bought my movie ticket based on the strength of his name. I loved him as a director in Cat People, American Gigolo, Hardcore. And Blue Collar. I loved his writing in Taxi Driver, Rolling Thunder, Mishima, Raging Bull and The Last Temptation of Christ. Seeing The Card Counter reminded me that those past glories were long ago. I wanted to like it but, try as I may, I couldn't find much to praise. The narrative flow and rhythm just wasn't there. I couldn't empathize with the protagonists (young and old) and we didn't see enough of the antagonist to feel much of anything.

To paraphrase a far better film, the 1954 On the Waterfront, 'It coulda had class. It coulda been a contender. It coulda been something, instead of a bum, which is what it was, let's face it.'
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1/10
Terrible, boring
Porkleaker16 September 2021
Has really nothing to do with card counting and it's just boring and idiotic total waste of time I think they released it for free in hopes they'd get good reviews...No, skip this one it's worse than eating 2 large sized big mac meals in 1 sitting.
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3/10
Directionless
alex-vaewsorn12 September 2021
Isaac is great, Sheridan and Dafoe are good. Haddish is someone out of place here unfortunately. Directionless movies. Well written but goes down in flames on screen. Now if only it going down in flames was exciting... which it isn't.
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1/10
Slow and no point to it
mike-365416 September 2021
Super boring. Misleading title (only 2 min of blackjack in the whole movie). Could have expressed the whole thing in about 30 min. The motivations of the characters were either not clear or non existent. In the top 10 worst movies I've seen.
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2/10
Rings false on almost every detail...
tccandler16 September 2021
Having lived half of my life in poker rooms, I can assuredly tell you that "The Card Counter" rings false on almost every detail. Nothing about this morose character study has any authenticity. It also features one of the most woefully inept performances in the 5000+ films that I have seen -- a stiff embarrassment of a turn from Tiffany Haddish. Oscar Isaac tries to hold all the disparate pieces together... However, director Paul Shrader misjudges every frame of this dismal film.
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5/10
Worth a watch, not much more
nathanwilliams-4223311 September 2021
Whilst the final act is engaging, the journey to get there is slow, at times to the point of tedium. The story takes us from casino to casino, never truly giving a sense of where we'll end up, not really giving us a reason to care.

The dialogue has moments of humanity, but more often than not it felt heavy-handed, as if the film was written by a first-year film student attempting to prove their genius to their peers. Isaac's performance is good, given his main direction was probably along the lines of "don't give away your emotions, but remember that your past hurts." Sheridan is given very little to work with in terms of bringing his character to life, although one scene in particular allows his character a moment of relatability. Haddish brought the most lively performance of the main cast, but her characterization is probably the weakest. Defoe isn't on the screen long enough that his performance would pull the film one way or another.

I'm firmly on the fence about the visual style of the film. There are times where the angles used in conversation highlight the fact that you're hearing dialogue written for a movie, and not experiencing a conversation between people. Additionally, there are many shots that linger for what feels like an eternity, without the emotional weight or stunning beauty that usually demands that kind of visual style, leaving you wondering when the film will be allowed to resume. This includes some of the transitions between scenes.

Finally, the audio in this film has some strange moments, including phasing between mics, varying levels in the dialogue within a scene (if often sounds like switching between two mic positions or different takes), or ADR that doesn't quite match what you're seeing on the screen.

All told, The Card Counter sets out to tell a story of redemption and reckoning with your past. It manages to do so, but isn't particularly compelling along the way.
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2/10
Who is this movie for?
Gusso66616 September 2021
I assumed that having at least one great actor in this film would make it a decent watch. I was wrong.

It doesn't have any cohesion with the characters against the story line which is plain boring.

First we get schooled in card counting and then it takes a strange turn into soldiers undertaking torture which made no sense at all.

I usually like movies that just waste time especially in covid lockdown but I could not wait for this to end.
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1/10
Unbelievably bad
jimmcl-2972912 September 2021
Isaac is credibile, Defoe adds nothing, and the rest of the acting plus the story is crap and a waste of time. Tagged as a thriller, but it's mostly a boring ride through a sad, meaningless character study.
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1/10
Save your money and your time
scottdantin19 September 2021
Boring, pointless, slow burn with no climax. Save your money and your two hours.
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3/10
Booooring
fawndesiree9 October 2021
Watching people play cards is more exciting than watching this movie. And watching people playing cards is like watching water boil. Skip and play online solitare, it'll be more fun.
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2/10
Brooding Talk and somber score don't make a movie
lareval12 October 2021
Oscar Isaac may be a pleasure to watch, but this movie was not my cup of tea. A frustratingly boring experience. Not recommended, in my opinion. I respect those who like it though.
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2/10
A cure for insomnia?
malcolmjohnston8 October 2021
With a great cast list and tag lines that make this film look well worth the effort of struggling through 10-15 minutes of slow paced mostly script free film you think the meeting of 2 main actors will spark this film into action.........well about an hour or so later when the credits roll you wonder how you'll ever get that time back in your life.

How films like this get backing is a puzzle Maybe the film read better than the overly self important film this became and a stain on some of the best actors currently working cv's If you can't sleep I highly recommend this dour film.
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1/10
Horrorible waste of time.
aaangler4 October 2021
The chemistry between Isaac and Haddish is like trying to mix oil & water, It does NOT work. Why don't these idiots understand matching the lead players is a key to a great movie. This movie has really nothing to do with card counting and it's just boring and idiotic a total waste of time. Skip this one. The high ratings must have been bought and paid for.
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4/10
Terrible disappointment considering the talent involved.
RivereyesGR17 September 2021
As a die-hard Schrader-Scorsese-BRMC fan, I was over the moon when this was announced and the trailer had me super hyped.

It starts off really well and then devolves into an incoherent mess of such epic proportions that I kept watching thinking to myself 'There's no way Schrader dropped the ball like that, there's probably some clever twist or reveal that's coming any minute now and all of this disconnected, disjointed excuse of a plot will somehow make perfect sense!'

Nope. Never happened.

If nothing else, it kept getting worse. A sad waste of talent for everyone involved. As others have mentioned, the poker hands were the most intense sequences filmed for this, but hey, fun fact, absolutely zero card counting involved except for a short three minute intro sequence.

This one just never took off.
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2/10
Absolutely one of the worst movies I've seen.
kendallwi20 September 2021
I'm not sure what they sold the studio to get this greenlit but what they've created is absolutely dreadful. This is a first-year film student's final project, trying to emulate Scorsese and failing miserably. I don't even know what the heck I just watched. Make it go away.
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1/10
cure for insomnia
dvdandre2 October 2021
This is probably the worst movie i have ever seen. The tempo is at a crawl, the dialogue is absolutely abysmal. "Kirk with a 'c'" ? WTF. Shocking waste of time, pls save yourself the 2 hours and enjoy a walk in the park, or watch literally ANYTHING else.. even the news would be more entertaining.
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Watching paint dry for 8 hrs is more entertaining than watching this nonsense for 111 mins.
Top_Dawg_Critic7 October 2021
This was the absolute worst film I have ever seen. Anything above a 2/10 is being very generous. This film was pointless, annoying and cringeworthy. The only thing close to any suspense is the less than 5 minutes Dafoe spends with Isaac, and even that was lame.

I don't know what type of recreational pharmaceuticals seasoned writer and director Paul Schrader was on, but they were a buzz-kill. This film should be a course-study example in every film school in the world, starting at the 5th grade drama classes, on what NOT to do as a filmmaker.

Schrader successfully managed to un-direct a film into a blended mess of convoluted cringeworthy nonsense. Was he even present to direct his cast properly? Aside from a few dramatic outbursts, Isaac, Sheridan and Haddish (although I did see a few characteristic smiles from her) gave the absolute stale, monotonic and expressionless performances I have ever seen in my life. Thankfully Dafoe had little screen time to join that club.

The writing felt like 3-4 different screenplays were thrown into a Ninja blender and taped together at random. You'll constantly be waiting and hoping that a switch will flip, and this train-wreck of a ride will amount to some type of reward. You will be disappointed. The story was convoluted, incoherent, pointless, and like Texas Hold-em, lots of flops. At best, as a character study, all I really enjoyed was the poker faces at the final table with Mr. USA. For educational purposes, the real character study were the stale, monotonic and expressionless characters and performances, and the writer and director who guided them all there.

The scenes were overly dragged out and mostly unnecessary. I could cut 80% from this film, and it may be somewhat entertaining and coherent. The pacing was, well... read my review heading. Even the score was annoying, overbearing and unfitting - to the point it'd be better suited in a horror film.

If you really hate someone, tell them to watch this, be patient until the very end, because the reward will be worth it. They will never speak to you again.
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2/10
A movie about nothing...
alifim22 September 2021
Seriously, it's an ideal example of movie about nothing.
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1/10
Shot in One Week?
jsteele92917 September 2021
Witless, lacking creativity and no direction.

It seems like this was a student film project written by a sixth grader and filmed in a week or less with drug money just being laundered for whatever the box office could drum up with a half-decent name and face in Oscar Isaac.
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4/10
So low-key it barely has a heartbeat
nathanandersonw20 September 2021
Oscar Isaac plays a former Army interrogator who is playing with the idea of getting revenge on a cruel man from his past. Isaac is great as always. I can't say the same for Tiffany haddish.

She doesn't quite, but almost ruins every scene she's in. When it comes to Comedy, she's the best. But when it comes to drama, she's too twitchy and doesn't seem to know which way to play a scene. This movie is so low-key that it barely has a heartbeat. What we want to see is a story arc where a man who has come to terms with his bad deeds, slowly convinces himself to do justice to a bad man. But most of the movie concerns itself with his quiet life as a card counter. And his relationship with the young man who is pushing him to violence. It's not bad. But you lose interest about halfway through.
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5/10
I liked it but wanted to REALLY LIKE IT
kboi17 September 2021
I so wanted to like this movie. And I did up to a point. The gambling topic and casinos are always an interesting topic to me. Seeing the Martin Scorsese name associated with it, I expected greatness. The movie had an interesting look to it. It did move slowly at times as the main character (William) was a moody, thinker type the entire film. That character trait did add drama to the story because you just didn't know whether he was sane, insane, a good guy, or bad guy. As the storyline progressed, we started seeing the dark, hidden past that haunted him. Where it fell apart for me was the final 15 or so minutes. Time and distance realities seemed to go into fantasyland and the viewer was expected to just accept the unbelievable in order to get to the movie finale. For a serious drama, I found that unacceptable. This movie can be considered a deep thinker movie and I can see some people truly liking the ending. I just felt disappointed and was hoping for a better climax to what was an interesting lead up to it.

(BTW: Blackjack card counting, assuming no devices are used to do it, is not illegal or cheating in the U. S. as someone alluded to in their review. Casinos don't like it because it can hurt their profit margin and if they suspect a person is doing it to their financial success, they can ban them from their privately-owned business property. It would be difficult to prove someone actually is doing it anyway).
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1/10
far too slow
ollivernick3 October 2021
Story moves fast but at the same time the scenes are boring and slow. Now background build up just random scenes turned it off halfway thru.
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1/10
Wtf happened to movies?
SpicyMcHaggis1330 September 2021
This was complete garbage just like everything else thats come out the past few years. It's like they don't even try to make decent movies anymore.
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