REVIEW: ‘The Card Counter’ is a terrific slow-burn in a fast setting

Paul Schrader is back with another pessimistic film that earns a positive score.

Oscar Isaac stars as William Tell in “The Card Counter,” a man who after serving a prison sentence, lives on the road traveling from casino to casino. Tell is able to count cards and is strong poker player, but he never tries to make more than he needs to survive. It soon becomes clear that he’s troubled by something in his past.

Tell’s life begins to change, though, when he meets Cirk (Tye Sheridan), the college-age son of a soldier he knew while serving. Around the same time, he meets a woman named La Linda, who convinces him to begin playing professionally under her management.

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