Director Schrader delivers tale of redemption

THE CARD COUNTER

Are there sins that are unforgivable? And is there somehow a chance that even the doomed may find forgiveness and live a fulfilling life?

Redemption is the long game in renowned writer and director Paul Schrader’s THE CARD COUNTER, which tells the story of William Tell (Oscar Isaac), an ex-military interrogator turned gambler who travels from casino to casino, working the poker tables.

As the title suggests he counts cards, but not in a flashy or obvious way. In fact, his goals are ‘modest’ – as he tells gambling agent La Linda (Tiffany Haddish) when she tries to recruit him to her stable of high-rolling professional players – and once achieved, he moves on to the next place.

Tortured by memories of his past as a prison guard in Iraq, Tell lives a carefully controlled life. When he meets Cirk (Tye Sheridan), the troubled son of a man who served alongside him in the military, he sees it as an opportunity for redemption and atonement. So, he concocts a plan to mentor Cirk as an opportunity to forgive himself – and be forgiven in turn.

Told with Schrader’s trademark cinematic intensity, THE CARD COUNTER features riveting, rock-solid performances from Haddish and Sheridan, while Dafoe is unsurprisingly excellent in a small but key role.

However, the movie belongs to critically acclaimed and award-winning Isaac, and to Schrader’s terrifying script. Isaac explains what drew him to the role: “The first time I read it I didn’t even understand it totally. I wasn’t sure what was happening. Then I read it the second time and it started to make more sense to me, and I think that’s what attracted me to it. There was so much mystery and so much tension in what was happening, and I couldn’t anticipate what was going to happen next with him as a character. I thought that it was just a really fascinating challenge.”

Schrader is perhaps best known as the screenwriter of intense cinematic classics such as Raging Bull and Taxi Driver. But his work as director is equally relentless and he is not generally known as an optimistic storyteller. As such, THE CARD COUNTER is not only a dark tale that encapsulates key themes of loneliness, isolation and redemption, but also an impressive character study.

“Over the years I’ve developed my own genre of films, and they typically involve a man alone in a room wearing a mask, and the mask is his occupation,” says Schrader. “He could be a taxi driver, a drug dealer, a gigolo, a reverend, and I take that character and run him alongside a larger problem, personal or social. For this film, I had to come up with a profession for someone who is waiting, and who is living a sort of non-existence. Gambling felt like the perfect milieu. With poker, you can play for days before that magic hand comes. Every few weeks or so, something good might occur, but mostly it’s a waiting game.”

As for the inspiration for Tell’s dark character, he says: “Contradiction is the heart and essence of character… So, I don’t see him as a dark character, I just see him as typically complex and contradictory as we all are.”

Isaac’s Tell is superbly supported by Emmy and Grammy award winner Haddish, who has established herself as one of the most sought-after comedic actresses and performers worldwide. She prepared for her role by hanging out and gambling in several casinos before they started production in early 2020.

“This world is so full of mystery, and there’s so many different types of people and personalities passing through these casinos,” she says. “Gamblers are fascinating people if you take the time to sit down at the table and talk to them. They come from all walks of life, but the one thing they have in common is they’re out to win.”

The musical score and soundtrack were handled by Robert Levon Been, lead singer and songwriter for the group Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. He worked closely with Schrader to write the tender, incantation-like songs that serve as an alternate narrative in the film.

Schrader uses THE CARD COUNTER to examine broader horrors, delving deep into the theme of redemption. The film’s fascination lies in unpacking the psyche of its main character, and how he deals with the choices before him.

The film, locally distributed by Filmfinity Pty (Ltd.) and will be released in South African cinemas on 22 October 2021.

Rotten Tomatoes – Certified fresh 87%.

CRITICS CONSENSUS
Led by Oscar Isaac’s gripping performance, THE CARD COUNTER adds another weighty chapter to Paul Schrader’s long inquiry into man’s moral responsibility.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHhJ1G3kdbU


SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

THE CARD COUNTER
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCardCounterFilm
Twitter: @CardCounterFilm
Instagram: @thecardcounter

FILMFINITY
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TeamFinityZA/


PUBLICITY & MARKETING
Starburst Promotions
Alishia van Deventer
Cell: 083 635 4717
E-mail: alishia@starburstmusic.co.za
www.starburstmusic.co.za


Alishia van Deventer
alishia@starburstmusic.co.za
083 635 4717
Starburst Promotions
http://www.starburstmusic.co.za



Regisseur Schrader deel ‘n verhaal van verlossing

Is daar sondes wat onvergeeflik is, of is daar ’n kans dat selfs die verdoemdes vergifnis kan vind en ’n vol lewe kan ly?

Verlossing is die tema van die bekroonde skrywer en regisseur, Paul Schrader, se nuutste fliek THE CARD COUNTER. Dit vertel die storie van William Tell (Oscar Isaac), ’n voormalige militêre ondervraer en dobbelaar, wat van casino-tot-casino reis en poker speel.

Soos die titel aandui, tel hy kaarte, maar nie op ’n spoggerige of ooglopende manier nie. Trouens, is sy doelwitte “beskeie” soos wat hy aan die dobbelagent, La Linda (Tiffany Haddish), verduidelik wanneer sy hom probeer werf as een van haar professionele spelers. Sodra hy dan sy doelwitte bereik het, beweeg hy aan na die volgende casino.

Gepynig deur sy herinneringe as tronkbewaarder in Irak, leef Tell ’n baie beheersde lewe. Wanneer sy paaie met Cirk (Tye Sheridan), die seun van ’n man wat saam met hom in die weermag gedien het, kruis beskou hy dit as ’n geleentheid vir verlossing en versoening. Dus, bedink hy ’n plan om Cirk te mentor as ’n geleentheid om homself te vergewe – en op sy beurt vergewe te word.

Schrader is bekend vir die intensiteit waarmee hy sy verhale vertel en THE CARD COUNTER sluit uitstekende toneelspel van Haddish en Sheridan in, terwyl Dafoe net so puik is in sy kleiner sleutelrol.

Dit is egter Isaac wat die kollig steel en lewe gee aan Schrader se skrikwekkende draaiboek. Volgens hom was hy dadelik aangetrokke tot die rol: “Ek het dit nie die eerste keer heeltemal verstaan toe ek dit gelees het nie en was onseker oor wat besig was om te gebeur. Toe ek dit weer lees, het dit begin sin maak en dit is wat my na die rol aangetrek het. Daar was soveel geheimsinnigheid en spanning, dat ek nie kon voorsien wat volgende met die karakter gaan gebeur nie. Om hom te speel, was vir my ’n fassinerende uitdaging.”

Schrader is bekend as die draaiboekskrywer van spanningsvolle klassieke rolprente soos Raging Bull en Taxi Driver. Sy werk, as regisseur is ewe meedoënloos. Daarom is THE CARD COUNTER nie net ’n donker verhaal wat die hooftemas van eensaamheid, isolasie en verlossing perfek vasvang nie, maar ook ’n indrukwekkende karakterstudie.

“Oor die jare het ek my eie genre van films ontwikkel. Dit behels gewoonlik ’n man wat alleen is in ’n kamer met ’n masker, en die masker is sy beroep,” sê Schrader. “Die karakter word dan, ongeag van sy beroep, met ’n groter probleem gekonfronteer. Vir hierdie film moes ek ’n beroep kies waarin die hoofrolspeler ’n doellose bestaan voer. ’n Dobbelaar het gevoel soos die perfekte oplossing. Dit kan dae vat voordat jy iets wen met poker en daar is meestal afwagting, sonder veel resultate.”

As jy hom uitvra oor die inspirasie agter Tell se donker karakter, sê hy: “Hierdie is ’n karakter vol teenstrydighede… so ek kan hom nie net sien as ’n donker karakter nie, maar eerder as ’n komplekse mens soos wat ons almal maar is.”

Isaac se Tell word uitstekend ondersteun deur die Emmy- en Grammy-bekroonde Haddish, wat bekend is as een van die gewildste komiese aktrises en kunstenaars in die wêreld. Sy het behoorlik vir haar rol voorberei deur in verskeie casino’s te kuier en te dobbel voordat hulle begin skiet het.

“Die wêreld is vol raaisels en daar is soveel verskillende soorte mense wat casino’s besoek,” deel sy. “Dobbelaars is fassinerende mense as jy die tyd neem om aan die tafel te gaan sit en met hulle te gesels. Hulle kom uit verskillende agtergronde, maar die een ding wat hulle gemeen het, is dat hulle wil wen. ”

Die klankbaan is deur die voorsanger en liedjieskrywer van Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Robert Levon Been, behartig wat nou saam met Schrader gewerk het om dié verhaal op ’n teer en besweringsagtige manier te vertel.

Schrader gebruik THE CARD COUNTER om dieper probleme te ondersoek en lê klem op die tema van vergifnis en verlossing. Die bekoring van die fliek lê in die manier waarop die psige van die hoofkarakter ontbloot word, asook die keuses wat hy maak.

Die rolprent word plaaslik versprei deur Filmfinity Edms (Bpk.) en sal vanaf 22 Oktober 2021 in plaaslike bioskope te sien wees.

Rotten Tomatoes-gradering: 87%

KRITICI STEM SAAM
Met Oscar Isaac se aangrypende toneelspel, voeg THE CARD COUNTER nog ’n gewigtige hoofstuk by Paul Schrader se konstante vraag oor die morele verantwoordelikheid van die mens.

Kyk die lokprent hier: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHhJ1G3kdbU


SOSIALEMEDIASKAKELS

THE CARD COUNTER
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCardCounterFilm
Twitter: @CardCounterFilm
Instagram: @thecardcounter

FILMFINITY
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TeamFinityZA/


PUBLISITEIT & BEMARKING
Starburst Promosies
Alishia van Deventer
Sel: 083 635 4717
E-pos: alishia@starburstmusic.co.za
Webblad: www.starburstmusic.co.za


Alishia van Deventer
alishia@starburstmusic.co.za
083 635 4717
Starburst Promotions
http://www.starburstmusic.co.za