The Card Counter

The Card Counter ★★★★½

Weird that they left all the Abu Ghraib stuff out of the trailer. I assume this was accidental?

Another Paul Schrader movie from Paul Schrader. You've got a man living an ascetic lifestyle writing a diary in a room, you've got the Pickpocket ending - all that good stuff you like and look forward to from our Uncle Paul. Almost every scene is set in a depressing hotel room, prison, or casino. I like that what draws Schrader to gambling is not the excitement/catharsis/adrenaline rush of winning, but rather the state of wearing a poker-face - which here becomes a metaphor for all the ways that we compartmentalize or cope with our sins.

Schrader gets a lot of points from me for being the only person from that New Hollywood crew who's still trying to make films for and about the present moment. He seems to bring all of his sturdiest political opinions to his movies while dumping his most problematic ones on Facebook.

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