Coming to Bluray, Digital and Movies Anywhere from writer/director Paul Schrader and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the deeper story of THE CARD COUNTER.
William (Oscar Isaac) spent a period of time in the military and there he learned an unusual skill – counting cards. He decides to make his living playing cards jumping from casino to casino and plays below the radar to just sustain himself. William also never stays at the casino hotels but instead prefers to stay at motels farther out of the city.
During one casino run he meets La Linda (Tiffany Haddish) who recognizes William and introduces herself. He knows exactly who she is. She explains that a group of investors are backing players and they would want to back him. Of course, some of the money goes back to them and to La Linda and Williams says a polite ‘no thanks’ but he is attracted to her.
During one of his casino trips, he sees a seminar for about security with a speaker named Major John Gordo (Willem Dafoe). Drawn to see for himself, William meets Cirk Baufort (Tye Sheridan) who slips him a number. Later that night, he has bad dreams about his time in the military and that pushes William to call Cirk.
Cirk tells William that his father is Roger Baufort and served with him in the military and at the Abu Ghraib prison. The young man’s father came home violent and addicted leaving behind a wife and son. Now Cirk wants to hold the man responsible for what happened to the men in the prison and the soldiers there – Major John Gordo – and Cirk wants revenge.
William again says ‘no thanks’ but asks Cirk if he wants to come along and see how gambling works to keep the kid safe. He also tells La Linda he is good with becoming part of her stable of players and wants to go to the World Series of Poker and then retire. Now the money starts rolling in but Cirk is not changing his mind so William shows him what will happen if he does not stop.
But everyone has their own path to follow.
Isaac as William is living with a past that is filled with violence and misery. Prison time was equally traumatic causing him to almost punish himself for the things he saw and did. Learning card counting became a way to earn a living without having much contact with people. Isaac has the unique ability to give his character the dark brooding appearance or a tortured soul, yet in his eyes the mind is like a steel trap.
Sheridan as Cirk is a young man who clearly has his own tortures to deal with. Angry at a father who checked out on him, his anger has a duality of the actions when he was alive and seeing his mother’s pain after. Meeting William gives him a chance to find someone to help him, but frustration sets in when Cirk realizes he is not reaching his new friend. Sheridan is taking the gambling life in but it is only a momentary deterrent.
Haddish as La Linda spends her time collecting players for her stable and making a nice living for herself. Meeting William, she finds herself moving toward a relationship with someone who has more of a past than she could ever imagine. DaFoe as Major Gordo is a character that trained men to do horrible things and when they were held accountable, Gordo slipped away. That is until he met Cirk and William.
Other cast include Alexander Babara as Mr. U.S.A. and Bobby C. King as Slippery Joe.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.
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Exclusive Bluray, DVD and Digital Bonus Content includes A High-Stakes World – Paul Schrader discusses developing his signature characters and how the world of poker provided the perfect metaphor for William Tell’s predicament. Feature additional interviews with film’s stars Oscar Isaac and Tiffany Haddish as well as poker consultant, Joe Stapleton.
THE CARD COUNTER is a mixture of a persons past and trying to live in the present with it all. Even though William is the central character of the film, it is also a story of how pain and tragedy affects each character in different ways. The only one who does not seem to see the problem is the Major, he instead believes in what he did.
This is a dark film that goes deep into the memories of William and gives a look into the decisions that he makes. Trying to help Cirk the only way he knows how, it is not enough to want to buy his emotional freedom. The young man tries to tell William how much pain he is in but its hard to hear when you have closed out all emotion.
In the end – reap what you sow!