Oscar Isaac in the Card Counter

The Oddly Intriguing Energy of Oscar Isaac, Willem Dafoe, and Tiffany Haddish in The Card Counter

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The Card Counter takes us on the journey of a poker player (Oscar Isaac) and his sordid past. What I got from the trailer for the movie, though, is that Tiffany Haddish and Oscar Isaac making out with each other is hot, and I continue to love whatever Willem Dafoe chooses to do in movies. Written and directed by Paul Schrader (and executive produced by Martin Scorsese, who worked with Schrader on Taxi Driver), the movie looks like a very strange poker movie and honestly, I’m here for whatever this is.

Following Tell (Isaac) and his card-playing ways, we get to see him interact with Cirk (Tye Sheridan) and fall in love with a mysterious backer (Tiffany Haddish) all on a journey to get revenge against his old military colonel (Willem Dafoe). If you asked me to describe anything past that? Couldn’t do it. But that doesn’t mean I’m not excited.

According to Deadline, the film features revenge, card sharks, and Tye Sheridan working with Oscar Isaac to get revenge against Willem Dafoe, so you know I’m in.

The story follows William Tell (Isaac), a military interrogator-turned-card player haunted by his past. His spartan existence on the casino trail is shattered when he is approached by Cirk (Sheridan), a vulnerable and angry young man seeking help to execute his plan for revenge on a military colonel (Dafoe) from both of their pasts. Tell sees a chance at redemption through his relationship with Cirk and takes him on the road, but keeping Cirk on the straight-and-narrow proves impossible, and Tell is dragged back into the darkness of his past. Haddish plays a mysterious backer looking to add Tell to her stable of card sharks.

Sure! Okay! Let’s go! I’m into this and how it feels like both a typical Scorsese-like movie and also has some of the weirdest energy in a trailer that I’ve ever seen, and also, I could watch hours of Tiffany Haddish and Oscar Isaac falling in love with each other. Never in a million years would I think those two would have this kind of chemistry, and yet, here we are.

Anyway, Willam Tell has been added to the Oscar Isaac variant list. (Wait, is his name William TELL because of poker?)

The Card Counter was just selected for competition at The Venice Film Festival and will hit theaters on September 10. Honestly, I hope this wins and everyone has to constantly talk about Willem Dafoe and Oscar Isaac being rivals, that feels like a gift to us all.

Will I figure out what this movie is when I see it in theaters? I don’t know. I feel like I might just scream throughout the entire thing because that’s all I did for this trailer, and that’s that.

(image: Focus Features)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.