“I had never imagined myself as someone suited to a life of incarceration.” So begins Schrader’s follow-up to First Reformed, which casts Oscar Isaac as William Tell, an ex-con whose eight-year prison sentence for the torturing of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib gave him time to form new gambling skills to employ in the outside world. A solitary routine of casino-crawling and eking out meager winnings is punctuated by moments in spartan motel rooms where Tell obsessively revisits past misdeeds in his diary. But that lasts only so long before an interested financier (Tiffany Haddish) and the son of a late military vet (Tye Sheridan) offer him a risky path to redemption. The Card Counter is part crime thriller, part horror-war film—a tightly wound, ominous plunge into the moral terror between indifference and suffering, revenge and self-sacrifice.” –Film at Lincoln Center
Paul Schrader’s latest feature Master Gardener screens May 26-28 in the Noble Theater.