He is nothing but an American boy and therefore flexible enough to quickly adapt to new circumstances at any time, explains the player with the almost a bit too ambiguous name "William Tell" (a "tell" is a telltale sign in English, among other things, that makes it clear: Someone is bluffing at the card table), which Oscar Isaac lends his attractive face to in Paul Schrader's film "The Card Counter".

This face, one of the few in cinema today worthy of the name "Hollywood star", has never been more difficult to read than at the beginning of this film, but at the same time never so openly and unprotected by its own fate rendered speechless as at the end.

The Card Counter is about a world of high stakes, part desperation, part boredom.

Dietmar Dath

Editor in the Feuilleton.

  • Follow I follow

As Tell, Oscar Isaac explains at the beginning, as in the seminar, what kind of skill he relies on as a card counter, i.e. a mathematical gladiator, for his gambler's livelihood.

The organizers of the highest-paying games have nothing against cold winners like him, he says, but the profits must not be too big.

In this film, reality means probability, not truth.

concept of fate in ancient tragedy

In this sense, the player ensures that nothing gets too close, that no question is too obvious: he makes the anonymous hotel rooms in which he lives even more anonymous by curtaining furniture and gives way to the boy Cirk, who mentor him , father, teacher wants, on the one hand, but on the other hand keeps him with him, in an equidistance evasive movement that ultimately cannot prevent, but actually causes two bad pasts to become entangled, his and the boy's.

Of course, the helplessly persistent charm that Tye Sheridan as Cirk seeks to set against this doom only makes things worse.

Since Norman Jewison's “Cincinnati Kid” (1965) with Steve McQueen and Edward G. Robinson, films that translate the ancient tragedy's concept of fate into modern ideas of strategy, luck, decision and play have been drawn into situations that show people there how they willfully mislead themselves about their own intentions and prospects, deliberately abusing the existential frivolity of the game and its colorful extras, which they use as a stimulant and at the same time tranquilizer (in "The Card Counter", for example, a crazy "Mister USA" jumps as a tournament gambler who yells at the fact that he's from Eastern Europe and his only home is a website with penetrating enthusiasm for all things American).

William Tell wants everything that isn't a game to slip away from him, even love and his mortal enemy.

Love is called La Linda and is the greatest performance to date by actress Tiffany Haddish, who is usually visibly underwhelmed by the comedies in which she often plays.

Is there such a thing as "warm-hearted toughness"?

Well yes, because that's how this role works - La Linda asks Tell what he's actually playing about, Tell replies: "It passes the time", it brings the time around, and because such a bone-dry statement is exactly what Bogart is at this point would have said, La Linda replies exactly what Lauren Bacall should have said: spend "some time with me" - if it's just about empty time, we can also destroy it together.

A great opportunity for two adults with little illusion (in incredibly delicate,