After the critical acclaim First Reformed garnered, Paul Schrader is back. The Taxi Driver writer wallowed for years in the 2000s and early 2010s making cheap films that few people saw. Now he’s able to reel in bigger stars, and he’s done exactly that by casting Oscar Isaac as the lead in his next project, The Card Counter.
The film revolves around a gambler and former serviceman named William Tell who sets out to reform a young man named Cirk seeking revenge on a mutual enemy from their past. Gaining backing from mysterious gambling financier La Linda, Tell takes Cirk with him on the road, going from casino to casino until the unlikely trio set their sights on winning the World Series of poker in Las Vegas.
However, Cirk is hard to keep in line, and before too long Tell is being dragged back into the darkness of his past.
Schrader actually had a different project in mind as his follow up to First Reformed. A “neo-meta” western remake of the 1956 film Seven Men From Now was planned with Ethan Hawke and Willem Dafoe. However, Hawke left the film when he finally got financing for his passion project – a series based on the life of John Brown – and Schrader decided to move on from the western, at least for now.
Isaac being directed by Schrader should be something worth checking out. He’s become a household name thanks to Star Wars, but he’s also an incredibly compelling leading man. Just watch Ex Machina or Inside Llewyn Davis for proof.