Oscar Isaac is arguably the best actor in show business currently. He has taken on every role and crushed every single one of them. His more recent exploits were appearing as Marc Spector and Steven Grant in Moon Knight, which was met with rave reviews. The same can be said for his role in Dune, as Duke Leto Atreides. However, there is another film in his arsenal that people may have overlooked. Though it is an odd film, it is one of his best performances. That film is The Card Counter, which is currently in the top 10 on HBO, and for good reason.
The Card Counter came out in 2021, and all but flew under the radar. It could have been because the pandemic was still raging on then, so many people were not exactly open to going back to the theaters. The film made its debut at 78th Venice International Film Festival on September 2, 2021, and was subsequently released in theaters by Focus Pictures on September 10, 2021. The film only managed to bring in $4.99 million in box office numbers. That is certainly a small amount of money for what was supposed to be a huge release. The film has been critically acclaimed though, landing a “certified fresh” 86% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The audience score was much lower at 42%. That is not usually the case for most films, as critics are usually on the more negative side of things. Audiences usually love anything Oscar Isaac is in as well.
The Card Counter follows William Tell (Oscar Isaac), who is a card counter that travels night and day to different casinos to pull in some money from his gambling obsession. He grinds out table games within the casinos and gets out when he notices trouble coming his way from the pit bosses and security at these casinos. He then meets a woman by the name of La Linda (Tiffany Haddish). La Linda asks Tell to sit on some poker games, and he will receive a backer, which is a high roller that basically pays someone else to get into tournaments for them for a cut of the prize. Tell explains that he likes to gamble without being seen. Tell stumbles upon a conference behind held by a man named Major John Gordo (Willem Dafoe). A young man approaches Tell after the conference, named Cirk (Tye Sheridan). Cirk explains that Major Gordo was part of a secret military operation that his father was at, which led to his father killing himself. Tell also confirms that he part of the same operation. Cirk then asks Tell to help him kidnap and kill Major Gordo. Without delving too deeply into the rest of the plot of the film, you can see the rest on HBO right now.
The Card Counter might have a low audience score because it is an odd film that has many layers to it. Audiences might not have understood what the director or the film was trying to get across. The bottom line is that Oscar Issac is spectacular in the film, and he showcases his acting skills by being this former soldier turned gambler in a beautiful way. He seems to be the normal gambling type until the film continues and you see the effects that his military life had on him. You can see some of that superb acting below:
Oscar Isaac can play any role given to him, and The Card Counter is proof of that. Although the audience score for the film is low, there is a ton to unpack in this film. There are layers added when the movie goes from seemingly being about a man living out his simple life gambling, to the corruption of the military campaign he was a part of, and love and loss. It is quite a good film.
The Card Counter is currently in the top 10 on HBO Max, and there is a strong reason why. People are now flocking to a film that flew under the radar in 2021 for obvious reasons. If you happen to be a fan of anything that Oscar Isaac has done in the past, you will love him in this film. He is spectacular along with the other cast in the film. Although it might sound like an odd premise, it definitely worth checking out.