To review Paul Schrader’s latest film, The Card Counter, I reviewed one of his best works, Light Sleeper, in 1992. And wrote down his thoughts in a diary. At one point, we saw her upstairs, stretched out on her bed. The same is true of the new film, and the similarities do not end there. The beating score for “Light Sleeper” was Michael Bean, whose son, Robert Leon Bean, is one of the composers of “Card Counter”, and William Duffy appears in both films. It would be unfair to claim that Schrader is stuck in a ditch. It is fair to say that he is no less than his hermetic hero. He has become the national winner of Loneliness.
Consider the boy at the heart of the “card counter.” He calls himself William Tell (Oscar Isaac), although his last name was Tillich. (Do we really want to remember the Protestant theologian and philosopher Paul Tlich? Don’t bet against him.) In traditional Schrader fashion, William has the ability to hide as much as he shows. “It was in prison that I learned to count cards,” he declares, and we are left wondering why he was imprisoned. Now a free man, he goes from city to city, and from one casino to another. He plays blackjack, roulette and poker, prefers low stacks – “I have modest goals” – and fills us in on his methods for each game. With roulette, he suggests a straightforward choice of red or black. Don’t mess with the numbers. “You win, you go,” he says. “You lose, you go.”
Beyond the tables, William tries to risk his life. He lives in motels (“single, one night”), pays cash, and, once inside the room, wraps the furniture in dust sheets and twins. Either he’s protecting himself from germs and dirt, or he’s imitating the hard work of Christopher and Jean-Claude, the artist who used to wrap up big things, like the Berlin Reichstag. There’s definitely a weird aesthetic compulsion here, and the director of photography, Alexander Dannon, silences the lighting until only the ghost of color emerges from the flower bed spread. William’s clothes are not very bright. Her black leather jacket, gray shirt and black tie, I suspect, Steve McQueen described the clothes he wore as a poker ax in “The Cincinnati Kid” (1965) as a funnel node. Hanging from his waist, William shows the tattoo on his shoulder blade: “I trust my life in providence, I trust my soul in grace.” He has put himself in solitary confinement, so what will be the need to break down the walls?
The answer is: three meetings, three very different people. The first is La Linda (Tiffany Hadish), who praises William and invites him to join a gambling den he runs. He is the only source of warmth in the film, and the cold sheet of the hero’s existence. “If you don’t play for money, why do you play at all?” “It’s too late,” she tells William. The other person who comes in front of him is John Gordo (Dafo), an old grower, we learn, who was once a private contractor. During the war on terror, in a hellhouse like Abu Ghraib, he drilled American soldiers into the art of interrogation. William was one of those soldiers. (In his sentence, he went to “surf the madness”.) After taking pictures in the process of humiliating the prisoners, he was sent to jail. Gordo, on the other hand, missed the sentence – an error of natural law that disturbed a third child of interest, Cirque (Tie Sheridan), whose father served and sinned with William, and He had to suffer the consequences. Circus, angry and restless, Gordo is in sight.
The sad thing about “card counters” is that Schrader creates a strong moral background for his characters and then lets them pass. William takes Sark under his arm, not so much to teach him professional tricks as to move him around. They are engaged in a mutual investigation. “How long have you been lying down?” The young man asks, “How long have you been watching your mother?” The big man answers, winning the prize for the strangest representative of 2021. The story is told neatly, and the topics according to the director – a friend of mine intuitively said “SupersinfulCalvinisticguiltandexpiation!” – are present and correct. Even so, owning one is still beyond the reach of the average person. It is difficult to decide whether William and Sark are leading themselves to a moment of crisis because they desperately need it, and because their wounded souls cannot go in another direction, or because they To do Some To prevent yourself from slipping and shrinking in space.
This film, whatever it is, is a picture of American desolation. I’m not sure that the two main aspects of it – the gambling conspiracy, with La Linda, and the revenge conspiracy, against Gordo – are successfully tied together, but their combined effect, without question, is visible. It is to drown the heart of the one. As the camera moves around the various casinos, and gets up to survey the green bay pastures, we realize we can no longer say which city we are in, day or night; Nor, with regard to customers, can we tell the hopeless from the disappointed, because they estimate their lives by cards and chips. The outside world is equally begging for happiness. There is a shot of Sirc and William, talking near a motel pool, on a damp day, an endless train running from afar, which could plunge the American tourism industry into permanent decline.
I fell That Sounds like bad news, wait for the flashback. To some extent, they represent a departure for Schrader. Think of its main characters, such as Pleasure Trader in “American Gigolo” (1980) and Pastor or Travis Beckel in “First Reformed” (2017), Martin Scorsese in “Taxi Driver” (1976), Joe Schrader. It was written in ten days. , And what he says “jumped out of my head like an animal.” As a rule, these people move from here and now, moving at their own pace. We understand the weight of the past (for example, Travis’ combat service in Vietnam), so much so that we don’t have to put it into practice. In “Card Counter”, however, William is surrounded by views of the Torture Chamber where he and Gordo, years ago, traded. It is filmed in wide angle billing, as if pressing against William’s eyebrows. Maybe that’s why, when this unpleasant film reaches its violent end, the camera moves, slowly retreating in pain and groaning. enough.
Each as a “card counter”, but with a lot of paper in tone, “The Noah in them” is a new documentary, directed by Bill Benz. Much of it takes place on the street, in hotel rooms and on tour buses, in the company of Anne Clark – singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, style queen, slippery customer, and good play, which is performed under Sobrecht. , Or Name the guitar, Of St. Vincent. A typical scene sees him walking around a venue before a flicker, his face on the posters outside, and the security guard turns him around. “I don’t know who you are,” he tells her. Admission to the club.
What will become of the monochrome man, William Clark? She begins the film in the sunshine of the cat’s eye – in the colors of Susan Srenden in “Thelma and Louise” (1991), while Clark is in pink. She plays the piano in an acid lime pants suit. Immerse yourself in them, and you’ll get an instant gemlet. If her saffron orange stage dress with long boots and cute bra, makes you anxious to see her CloseOn stage, in the wild, your wish is fulfilled. Here she is caught in flagrante with a scrabble board. “Double double word score,” she says proudly.
It’s the arrogance that drives this cool and silly movie. (It’s actually a movie packed with others. Call it a documentary fantasy.) Under the sparkle of his dramatic personality, Clark is good, accessible, and authentically alien. Craving for a movie about it, and a hook or hot tip. “Is there a way to increase it a little bit? You’re stupid and normal in real life,” says Brownstein. The second half of “The Noah’s Inn” contains Clarke’s response to this challenge. Announcing that “I can be St. Vincent at any time,” she opens up to a diva.
As you can imagine, the whole shabbing is such a disgusting self-reference, and the joke is so noisy that it should, according to its rights, lose its own trumpet. But there is a saving grace: this is a funny film. Clark, who grew up in Dallas, enjoys singing Texans with his extended family, and dispels Brownstein’s small complaint that this is not his real family. Crow is lying in bed with rock star, Clark Dakota Johnson (because, you know, isn’t that what rock stars should do?) Notice. Most importantly, chewing the bubble of celebrity honors is the scene in which Clark, in full St. Vincent mood, refuses to pose for a picture with a fan, and lowers the poles. “It’s kind of honest. You Exciting, the fans say, looking happily behind him. “Finally, a woman is telling her truth.”