Much like an expert poker player, writer/director Paul Schrader underplays The Card Counter. Instead of a flashier approach that boasts with style, Schrader captures the subdued focus and routine of a gambling sub-culture and its players. One of those players being William Tell (Oscar Isaac), a former serviceman who invests in high-rolling card games to keep himself distracted. It’s an efficient, time-consuming past-time that prevents William from possibly falling back into bad habits.
In First Reformed, writer/director Paul Schrader tells a story about characters living in excruciating personal turmoil. He then gradually develops his movie to be more visceral, so the audience can experience similar pain. You would think keeping movie goers in a state of compelling discomfort would be a tricky balancing act for Schrader, but he succeeds with ease; almost as if this area of emotional discomfort is a particular wheelhouse for the Taxi Driver screenwriter.
By: Addison Wylie Once upon a time in a high school drama master class, a group of friends and I were given a one-act play to perform for our final exam. The play was Anton Chekov’s The Proposal. Myself and my other cast mates had no clue what to make of the exaggerated work or of our bumbling characters ; and, our director didn’t know any better. We agreed that the amount of time given…