The Card Counter

The Card Counter ★★★★

80

Let's just get this out of the way: it's pretty wild that a movie about the emotional fallout of personal responsibility involving war-crimes at Abu Ghraib was released on the 20th anniversary weekend of 9/11. Galaxy-brain maneuver. Paul Schrader is back as he digs deep into the contrast of Bressonian elegance and a capacity for violence that resides within his characters. Here we find an inevitable journey towards a self-imposed void, a sculpted existence that is merely a clean white sheet thrown over a mess of amorality. Unjustifiable actions, sanctioned and cleared. It's so refreshing to see a great artist returning to their idiosyncrasies, their obsessions and motifs, all while allowing the context to flourish with a modern lens. First Reformed felt like a crossroads between past and present, a digital manifestation of Protestant anguish and the horrors of climate change. The Card Counter plunges into colder, more punishing waters - a total lack of future.

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