The Card Counter

Paul Schrader's highly-anticipated crime drama has just released its first trailer, and it's already exceeding expectations. Starring Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man), and Tye Sheridan (the X-Men franchise), this film shines a dark and artful light on the world of casino gambling.


The trailer shows that William Tell (Isaac) is a card counter with a dark past. At one point, he took the fall for crimes committed by Major John Gordo (Dafoe), and acquired his unique skill set in prison. Years later, he is approached at a casino by a mysterious and zesty figure, the shadowy La Linda (Haddish). She offers to sponsor him as a card counter so he can take his schemes to the next level.

Simultaneously, Tell encounters Cirk (Sheridan), a novice in the world of gambling. He also wants revenge on Gordo, so Tell takes Cirk under his wing and shows him the ropes. Together, they embark on a journey through Tell's dark past and darker present, confronting Tell's inner demons while also seeking to punish Gordo. Themes of redemption, vengeance, and anti-binarism will all be explored as the morally gray heroes confront villains who are equally gray in their morality.

This film is written and directed by Paul Schrader, who wrote The Last Temptation of Christ (also starring Dafoe) and directed First Reformed. He is also a long-time collaborator with Martin Scorsese, who is listed in the trailer as a producer. Though this script has a different subject matter from most of Schrader's other work, the themes it focuses on have a clear overlap with the rest of his oeuvre. Isaac and Haddish are in more unexplored territory: Haddish, a comedienne, gives an uncharacteristically serious performance, while Isaac, the charismatic Star Wars actor, channels the gritty energy he first debuted in 2011's Drive.

The Card Counter is scheduled to be released theatrically on September 10th, 2021.

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