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The Card Counter

by on September 11, 2021
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I’m not the world’s biggest Paul Schrader fan. A lot of folks consider “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” (two of the four films Schrader penned for Martin Scorsese – the other two being “The Last Temptation of Christ” and “Bringing Out the Dead”) to be two of Scorsese’s best. I don’t hold that opinion as neither would even make my top five favorite Scorsese films.

I’ve only seen a handful of Schrader’s directorial efforts – “Affliction,” “Auto Focus,” “Dog Eat Dog” and “First Reformed.” I’ve often liked elements of these films (more often than not it’s the performances), but they’ve also done a good job of keeping me at a distance as they’re just so damned depressing. My limited exposure to Schrader’s oeuvre has led me to believe they’re all exercises in miserablism.

This brings us to Schrader’s latest writing/directorial effort “The Card Counter” (now in theaters). Much like its forebears it’s cold, but not to the core. If you skim beneath the surface there’s a good deal of warmth and hopefulness contained within, which is surprising for a film dealing head-on with the ramifications of war crimes committed by the United States and its soldiers after 9/11.

Read the rest on Substack!

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