Ahead of its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Focus Features has unveiled the first official trailer for Paul Schrader’s new film The Card Counter starring Oscar Isaac, Tiffany Haddish, Tye Sheridan, and Willem Dafoe.
The film follows William Tell (Isaac), a gambler and former serviceman who sets out to reform a young man seeking revenge on a mutual enemy. Tell just wants to play cards. His spartan existence on the casino trail is shattered when he is approached by Cirk (Sheridan), a vulnerable & angry young man seeking help to execute his plan for revenge on a colonel. Tell sees a chance at redemption through his relationship with Cirk. Gaining backing from mysterious gambling financier La Linda, Tell takes Cirk with him on the road, going from casino to casino until the unlikely trio set their sights on winning the World Series of poker in Las Vegas. But keeping Cirk on the straight-and-narrow proves impossible, dragging Tell back into the darkness of his past.
Check out the first trailer for The Card Counter below:
The Card Counter is written and directed by acclaimed American filmmaker Paul Schrader, with Martin Scorsese on board as Executive Producer.
Schrader previously wrote and directed Hardcore, American Gigolo, Cat People and First Reformed – just to name a few. He is probably best known however for penning the Martin Scorsese classics Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. Schrader’s latest finds Oscar Isaac sinking his teeth into the kind of tormented male protagonist role that he and Scorsese have perfected over the years.
The Card Counter is highly anticipated not only because of the cast but also because Schrader is coming off his first screenwriting Oscar nomination for First Reformed, a film rightfully observed as one of the filmmaker’s best in his long, storied, and controversial career.
The Card Counter also acts as Schrader’s follow-up film with his First Reformed cinematographer Alexander Dynan, who is a master in mise en scène, and even when this trailer showcases what looks to be a smaller budgeted film, those compositions still shine through. Dynan and Schrader are favoring the cinema of Bresson (including the last shot of the film Pickpocket being homaged with Haddish and Isaac’s fingers touching through prison glass at the end of the trailer) with empty compositions, often observing characters from a camera positioned slightly higher than the subjects, often observing down on them from a God’s POV.
The movie’s selection as part of the Venice Film Festival puts in contention alongside some other highly notable festival favorites like Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter, Pablo Larrain’s Princess Diana film Spencer, Pedro Almodovar’s latest Parallel Mothers, and more in Venice’s competition section.
Check out the poster for The Card Counter as well:
Focus Features will release Schrader’s The Card Counter in select US theaters starting on September 10th, 2021.