Director(s): Dario Argento
IMDB Rating: 5
In Rome, after the abduction of a British tourist, the police inspector Anna Mari is contacted by the criminal, who self-entitles The Card Player, challenging the police department to dispute a video poker with him where the prize would be the life of the victim. The Chief of Police refuses to participate and the victim is tortured and killed in front of an Internet web cam. The British detective John Brennan is assigned to investigate the case and when another woman is kidnapped, they invite the addicted player Remo to play for the police. Anna and John lead the investigation trying to disclose who might be the serial-killer.
gridoon (15 May 2013)
For anyone, like me for instance, who thought that Dario Argento'sprevious movie, "Sleepless", went overboard with violence, it's nice tosee a more restrained Argento where the impact comes not so much fromgore as from the suggestion of gore (though there are a couple ofscenes, like the close inspection of dead bodies, that are not for thesqueamish, even if you know they're just mannequins!). In fact, apartfrom not having a great actor like Max Von Sydow in its cast, I found"The Card Player" superior to "Sleepless" in nearly all respects.Argento still knows how to create suspense and play with the audience;Stefania Rocca is a very capable lead, a REAL WOMAN, instead of somesupermodel posing as a cop; and Liam Cunningham bears a strikingresemblance to Jean Reno. I would have given this film an even higherrating, if it weren't for two things: 1) The most obvious (after apoint) suspect turns out to be the killer; what happened to the goodold red herrings? 2) The climax walks a fine line between thesuspenseful and the ludicrous, and probably falls to the side of thelatter. (***)
ShootingShark (14 May 2013)
In Rome, a killer kidnaps a British tourist and challenges the cops toa game of internet video-poker, with her life as the stakes. When theylose, an Irish policeman is brought in to assist with theinvestigation. Can they trace this lunatic, and how long before theyreceive an invitation to another game ?Although it lacks the exceptional set-pieces of some of his other work,this is a reliably solid police thriller with suspenseful direction bythe great Argento. The premise is a little bit thin for a whole movie,but the video-poker scenes are surprisingly tense and the film doesn'tfeel padded or overlong. It's a little clichÃ©d for sure - workaholiccop with no personal life, unwilling partner with a murky past,obsessive killer with a chip on their shoulder - but Argento and FrancoFerrini's script moves along quickly and has some agreeable surprisesalong the way. Nicely shot in some dingy parts of Rome you don'tnormally see, and featuring a cool piano score by Claudio Simonetti.Unlikely leads Rocca and Cunningham both give fine, unpretentiousperformances, although the supporting cast are a little on the woodenside. This may be a minor work in Argento's canon but it features somegreat scenes, like the moment where Rocca suddenly notices the killerhiding outside her house, reflected in the glass of an ashtray. Anagreeable thriller for suspense fans and a must for Argento addicts.Trivia - the kidnap victim who is saved (the Commissioner's daughter),is played by the elder of Argento's two daughters, Fiore. English title- The Card Player.
Graham Greene (14 May 2013)
The Card Player is undoubtedly a minor work within the Dario Argentocannon - closer in tone to something like The Cat O' Nine Tails thanthe more celebrated likes of Suspiria - and a low-key precursor to hissubsequent work for television; notably, Do You Like Hitchcock? and histwo instalments for the Masters of Horror serial, Jennifer and Pelts.Like The Cat O' Nine Tails, the story of The Card Player takes on theusual Argento conventions of classic suspense cinema and the Giallothrillers that would inform much of the filmmaker's greatest works - inparticular The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Tenebrea and ProfondoRosso - but gives it a more smooth, sophisticated and mainstreamapproach that seems to avoid (for the most part at least) the variousquirks, characteristics and personal idiosyncrasies that the majorityof Argento fans have come to expect.The plot at first seems preposterous; a mysterious serial killerinvites members of the Rome police force to indulge him in an onlinepoker contest. If they win, his latest victim will go free. If theyloose, she will be murdered live on webcam. As with his previous filmSleepless, the film attempts to update many of Argento's favouritegenre tricks by juxtaposing the old, archaic conventions of thedetective thriller against the modern, twenty-first century policingtechniques. So, whereas Sleepless demonstrated the use of forensicevidence in tracking a brutal murderer (in relation to the tried andtested policing of retired detective Max Von Sydow), The Card Playerlooks ahead to the world of wire taps, computer surveillance and thegeneral technological buzz of twenty-first century living.Where the film falls flat for many fans is in the plotting andexecution (pardon the pun). Although I greatly enjoyed the first threethirds of this film - plot-holes and character quirks AN' ALL - thefinal third of this film slips sadly into the realms of complete farce.In fact, if I were to watch this film in the company of friends andfamily, I'd no doubt cringe with embarrassment if anyone happened tolook over and catch me actually enjoying this literal train-wreck of asupposedly grand finalÃ©. Everything we hate about Argento can be foundin this clumsy, ham-fisted, badly-written, badly acted dÃ©nouement, fromthe previously strong central character suddenly becoming the helplessvictim, to the pointless motive of the serial killer, to the continualineptitude of the police force, and of course, our favourite, thehorrible-dubbing and wilful over-acting of a character who, whenlurking in the shadows, was the most terrifying force imaginable, now,out of the darkness and actually REALLY laughable (the same problemcould also be found in Sleepless, to an extent).It's such a shame too, since much of the film finds Argento breakingnew ground. He's toned down the eccentricities that plagued films likePhenomena, Opera and The Stendhal Syndrome, and in doing so hasstripped away much of the grandiose filming style he used to soeffortlessly and vividly perform. It kind of works in the film's favourthough, with this low-key thriller really benefiting from the naturallighting, unfussy composition and matter of fact paunchiness of theediting. He's also toned down the violence too, which is obviouslygoing to be a bone of contention for many Argento fans, but again, Ithink he manages it within the context of this film.Going against the grain of my fellow commentators, I will say that Ireally liked the performances of the two central characters, with Dariofor once fining a couple with something actually approaching chemistry.Not to mention the fact that they're characters that we can actuallyroot for and care about; which again, was down to the chemistry andintegrity of the performances. As a result, the performances alsohelped to really enliven a number of the more elaborate set-pieces, inparticular the late-night game of cat-and-mouse between Anna and herwould-be assassin (which brings to mind the brilliant double-bluffsleight-of-hand found in films like The Bird with the Crystal Plumage,Deep Red, Suspiria and Tenebrae) and a late night chase through theshadowy streets of old Rome which is really the Italian Hitchcock athis absolute best.Like I said, the ending is terrible, but much of the film (for me) wasquite enjoyable, and if you can pick it up for under a fiver then I'dsay it's definitely worth it. True, it's a far cry from the genius ofhis Iconic early work, but at the same time, it's nowhere near as badas recent follies like Trauma and the risible Phantom of the Opera, soif you're an Argento completist then you're gonn'a want it regardlessof the negative reviews. If, however, you have some familiarity withArgento, but have found his recent work lacking, then you might want togive it a miss (or at least try before you buy). For me, I'd be temptedto stretch to four stars, as I enjoyed the film - and the DVD transferis a good one - but I'm knocking the grade down for the terribleending, which really spoils a lot of the fun.
pumaye (13 May 2013)
After "Non ho sonno" I hoped that Argento career could be again at apositive rising point, but after seeing this mess I'm sure that I was reallywrong: bad acting, derivative and insane plot, terrible dubbing (yes, thisItalian movie was shot in English and dubbed in Italian with terribleresults), not a single moment of tension from the genius of giallo duringthe Seventies; like Stendhal's Syndrome, we have another time a policewomanat the helm of the story (the beautiful and normally good actress StefaniaRocca, here in one of her worst performances of her career) and the resultis a confused story, with a not single spark of brilliance in devolpment ofthe character or of the motivations of the maniac. Do not watch this movie: preserve your remembrances of a director that oncewas really the best, but now should be forced to retire
Petros Rodakinias (07 May 2013)
What can I say about this film? It certainly is not a typical Argento film(and I mean that in a very broad sense - there are some things you expectfrom an Argento film, like gore, tension and a certain visual style), but isit really bad? Well, it's not a terrible movie but from the man that gave usSuspiria, Deep Red and Tenebrae I expected much more. First of all it's not giallo but more of a run of the mill detective story.Now, this wouldn't be bad if it was a good detective story, but it's not.The identity of the killer was predictable and some parts of the story didnot make any sense. On top of that, the acting was not very good and themusic was at best tolerable. And the final scene was just bad and did notmake much sense.The only good things about the movie were some great shots of Rome, and acouple of good, powerful scenes (like the first 2 murders) that reminded mea little of Argento's better films. It's not a very bad movie, it's just a mediocre one. But since it's anArgento movie I expected much more. I give it 5 out of10.
robino69 (07 May 2013)
I Know it's difficult duplicate masterpieces like Profondo Rosso,Inferno o Suspiria, but Dario Argento didn't need a movie so bad. Badscript, bad acting, all looks like deja-vu. Stefania Rocca try to be aDaria Nicolodi (no way my darling), Muccino Jr. looks like a Videopokergenius just because keeps pairs, and goodness, really talk like DaffyDuck. And seeds substitute bird songs, a barrack at the Gianicolo inRome substitute the Torino house without a window, the serial killerbecome a computer expert, gosh another Dario Argento's wife and akiller (with no reason to be a killer) that reveal himself after 5minutes in the movie. Tension in this movie is the same to see a"George & Mildred" TV episode. Stay away of it !!!
barnkalas (06 May 2013)
***SPOILER WARNING***First of all, I would like to say that i'm a big fan of Mr. Argento andhis films with Suspiria as my all-time favourite. But with this film,The Card Player, he has really hit a bad hand, he should have foldedthis film from the start. The only similarity I can find between thislousy film and most of his brilliant films are, that there is a closeupof the murderers hands wearing black gloves. That's it! The tempo,editing, dialouge, (lack of) mystery and most of all, the story in thisflick is almost pathetic if you compare with his other works. Gone arethe beautiful use of colors and the wonderful aesthetic shots, replacedwith some wannabe-Hollywood-police-thriller style. It's like a baddirected episode of any generic police series coming from the u.s. Butit's worse. The acting is horrible, Stefania Rocca (the woman playing the leadactor) is most often ridiculous. I can't think of one singleactor/actress in the film that is not messing up his/her role in oneway or more.The poker scenes in the film are also very stupid. The murderer iskidnapping young girls and then challenging the police for a game ofpoker for their lifes. But the type of poker they are playing is theleast thrilling pokerkind there is. They go one on one, with 5 cardsface up, and then they get one change to swap the cards they wish.There's no betting, no bluffing, no nothing of what poker is supposedto be. Already there, the excitement is gone. Maybe Dario should havecontacted a poker supervisor for the movie? Texas Hold'em or 5 cardstud would be preferred, or anything, not just that kind of poker. Theother thing poker related that is somewhat strange, is that in the lastpoker showdown, the killer loses with a royal straight flush against anace,two,three,four,five club straight flush. I don't know what kind ofpoker they're playing but it sounds strange to lose with that hand, butas i said, i can be wrong!Another thing is these called "anti-hackers", trying to locate thekiller when he's playing against the police online. One of them says:"We can't locate him , I think he's behind a firewall or something".Well, that's some real good anti-hackers the police force got... (i'mironic).I read someone commenting on what a wonderful job Claudio Simonetti didon the soundtrack. I can't disagree more. It's like cheezy techno meetseven more cheezier drum'n'bass in an ugly mix. Comparing this score tothe one on Profondo Rosso, Tenebre or Suspiria is just stupid.The killings are also pretty dull. There's not much blood or gore, butthey are O.K. i guess. Nothing special though.Another remark on the story; It's getting quite old and boring withsome strange sound getting caught on tape, and the characters can'trecognize where the sound comes from, until the end and it solves thepuzzle. Come on... it worked in "Bird with a crystal plumage" but nothere.One last remark on the story; We're not introduced to many likelymurderers throughout the movie, no one except the men/women in thepolice force are explored, so the murderer has to be someone in thepolice force, and guess what... it is! whoo!I don't have many good things to say about this movie, I got some morebad things to say about, but I think i've written enough of themalready.Dario Argento + Claudio Simoenetti + black leather gloves = 1 + 1 + 1 3/10. And that's just because i'm weak for those three ingredients. Iwouldn't be surprised if some non-argento, non-goblin and non-giallomovie fan gave this one a 0/10. It's still a giallo movie, but thiscyber-newschool-giallo does not work, at all. I didn't know if I shouldlaugh or cry at the stupid ending scene...3/10***SPOILER WARNING***
TrevorAclea (06 May 2013)
Without revealing the killer's identity, Dario Argento's latest misfireactually climaxes with the villain chaining the heroine to a railwaytrack where he forces her to play internet poker. Yep, as thrillers gothis is a premise that needs to be seriously rethought. The Card Player is another two steps back for Argento after showingsigns of improvement in the flawed, very silly but nonetheless verystylish Sleepless. On one level it should be interesting that he hasabandoned the gore and the stylistics for a much more subdued style,but in this case for subdued read disinterested hackwork. If you didn'tknow this was an Argento film, you could easily mistake it for any oneof the hundreds of schlock killer thrillers you'll find on some basiccable channels at two in the morning. The plot is serviceable only as aframework for setpiece film-making Â Stefania Rocca has to stop aserial killer from torturing and murdering women by playing for theirlives in a series of internet poker games Â but the trouble is that theguignol is nowhere near grand here, let alone grand enough, and Argentofilms it all with an astonishing lack of panache. The potentiallyspectacular death of one major character is handled with pedanticdisinterest while the other killings are almost thrown away. Plotdevelopments are all exactly as expected and all too easily predicted.This wouldn't matter so much if the script were better constructed orthe characters more interesting, but it's ticking boxes all the way.Heroine with a problem Â cop whose father committed suicide over hispoker debts: check. Hero with a problem Â drunken Oirish cop exiled tothe British embassy in Rome for killing a minor in a siege: check. Bitplayer who is so obviously suspicious it can't be him: check. Likablecharacter whose death is supposed to be a big surprise but isn't:check. Etc, etc, etc. It's a tame, unimaginatively directed, notterribly well acted movie that plods along for two thirds of itsrunning time before briefly threatening to pick up a head of steam butnot quite managing it. Looking at it, you can't help feeling that theonly reason Dario made it was because he was running behind on thealimony checks. It's watchable, but nothing more.
Bloodwank (05 May 2013)
It isn't difficult to see why The Card Player is one of the leastgenerally regarded Argento works. Largely free of gore or fluid camera-work, a stylistically restrained affair that could almost pass for madefor television. And yet it works by and large, it may not be a classicbut it's a lot of fun, with a playful feel that rather charms. Theintent on the surface was to merge two rather different traditions, thegiallo and the modern day serial killer procedural film, but a casualglance at the two reveals their incompatibility. The giallo founded intwist and contrivance, exuberant sleight of hand the magic behind luridpulp fun, the later serial killer film a matter of darkness andpsychology, the horror of death and trudge towards truth, stone facesand realism. The Card Player stuffs the former in the latter and thefit is tight, but rather than strain for neatness and appearanceArgento pushes for knowing absurdity. So there's some of the more openweirdness and humour of his work, lively and eccentric characters and afew visual gags. But as well as absurdity, in the set up can be seen afilm-maker reacting to his legacy. In films past Argento gave beauty toviolence in the impossibly wandering eye of his camera and we delightedin him for it, but here he recognises the audience and doesn't givethem what they want, moreover it is a camera (and just just his butthat within the film) that denies, a single stationary webcam thatshows terror and death but no arterial business. The treatment isimperfect, elegant but insubstantial, touching on the matters of death,fate and audience (the defining image being the reflection of agambler's face in computer screen that shows both terrified victim andthe card game for her life) but unable or unwilling to give them muchweight. The effort is appreciable though and the film in general is acharmer. Liam Cunningham comically inspired, tough and touching as aboozy agent transferred to Rome, Stefania Rocca hitting the right hardbut tender notes in her stock heroine character (complete withpredictable personal problems), Silvio Muccino an amusing card sharpand other players doing their work well. A few well crafted sequencesof nervy tension too, as well as a couple of impressive lunacy.Certainly a number of places in need of more sting, and a killer andmotivation rather disappointing, but overall a well worthy work ofunderrated fun. 7/10.
Andy Kowalski (04 May 2013)
"The story..well forget the stories..the stories make no sense atall..." (Carpenter)No doubt, Argento- lines are indeed not worth a hideous thought but Ialways tempt to mingle them endlessly with my own kind of criminaldetective skills. I guess solely the storybook- catholic would watch aporn fer the the sake of having a blast with them dialog's alone,you'll get the picture...here I am, witnessing that not even theheavily armed films - under Argento's direction - have their Moments:***The serial killer and the police lady enchained to the rails,playing cards that virtually flip in slow- mo, the train in thebackground, nighttime.. with Simonetti's taking strangely over theirheart- beat = BRILLIANT***...this is so damn fabulous and made in an artistic way of akind...it'll stick in my head no matter how much I was smiling overthem stories where all the neighbors seem guilty and no crime is seentoo heinous...it will be simply overlooked (and adds a bit of charm, noless) by the way it's presented...Blatantly fascinating.I should add...it's in fact not a dynamite strike overall...nothing toget too excited but not a disappointment either...it is Argento tryingto do Hitchcock but what we'll get is Van Gogh.
Coventry (01 May 2013)
I think even the most fanatic Argento fans will agree that the 90's wasa rather disappointing decade for the Italian horror maestro. Both'Trauma' and 'The Stendal Syndrome' were below his normal standards and'Phantom of the Opera' was simply bad. But the new millennium seemed tobring back Dario's inspiration and he gave us 'Sleepless'. I love thatfilmÂ the violence is outrageous and the plot is deliciously absurd.'Sleepless' was an authentic giallo and it made me anticipate therelease of 'The Card Player' with great expectationsÂ Well, I regret saying Argento's latest film is yet another minordisappointment. It feels like watching a routine, made-for-TV thrillerand the typical Argento touches are nowhere to detect. And worst ofallÂ it's as good as bloodless! I couldn't believe my eyes when Inoticed when some of the murders were shown in swift, unclear flashes!Some of them even happened off-screen and that's the last thing Iexpect in an Italian horror shocker. Dario Argento does move with thetimes, though! The screenplay of his latest giallo involves onlinegaming, web cams, forensic examinations and sell phone text messages.There's a killer on the loose in Rome. He kidnaps girls and offerspolicewoman Anna Mari the opportunity to save their lives by playingonline poker games with him. Since the first victim was a Britishtourist, Anna teams up with the tough John Brennan who works as apolice officer for the British embassy. Granted, during severalsequences, Argento manages to create suspense and he still knows how touphold an unsettling tone. But the plot is far too thin and the twistsare predictable. It doesn't require a degree in rocket science tofigure out what's going on and even the killer's identity isn't a realmystery. Dario Argento is mostly known as a giallo-director. Gialliform a unique sub-genre because of their complex structure andfar-fetched plot-twists. And, not to forget, because of the mad-ravinggore sequences and perverted sexual undertones. The Card Player totallylacks all these elements.
lastliberal (01 May 2013)
One of the the great things about giallo is the blood and nudity. Theserial killer takes the time to undress his victim before tossing herin the water, so we get to see everything.A little Saw and a little "CSI"/"Criminal Minds"; this film features anew gimmick. We'll play cards for the life of a girl.As the game progresses, the killer ups the ante by capturing the PoliceCommissioner's daughter and forcing the police to play for her life.As the police close in on the Card Player, he manages to get Anna Mariin his clutches and forces her to play a game for her life. It wassomething of a silly ending.
Michael O'Keefe (18 April 2013)
Also known as THE CARD PLAYER, this Italian horror film is intenseenough to crack your white knuckles and turn your stomach inside out. Aserial killer taunts a police detective(Stefania Rocca)into a videopoker game, with the stakes being the mutilation and probable slayingof a young woman. The police department watch via web cam. An Irishforensics expert from England(Liam Cunningham)joins in the race to findthis card playing sadist before he slaughters another victim. DarioArgento is a master of gore. He directs and writes like a true geniuswhen it comes to chilling and violent horror. The grisly specialeffects by Sergio Stivaletti are top notch. Also in the cast of thisstylish thriller: Silvio Muccino, Claudio Santamaria, Fiore Argento,Antonio Cantafora and Michele Pellegrini. This suspenseful shocker ishighly recommended.
movieman_kev (17 April 2013)
Policewoman Anna Mari (Stefania Rocca) who has to watch a woman die viaweb-cam after her superior won't let her play on-line video poker withthe killer. Enter stereotypical Irish detective, John Breenan (LiamCunningham from "Dog Soldier"), who of course drinks heavily and sings'Danny Boy'. It's up to these two to figure out who the murderer isbefore too many bodies pile up. What we have here would be an perfectlypassable movie IF anyone else had directed it, but for an Argentohelmed flick this one is severely lacking in both Dario's trademarkvisual flair and a strange lacking of gore. A HUGE disappointment afterseeing "Sleepless" My Grade: D+
fangomatic (14 April 2013)
It is not a thriller, definitely not a horror movie, not even a drama.Just a bunch of actors, who obviously didn't know what kind of movieare they in themselves, running around like robots. Of course, whatcould you expect with such a cheap plot, that is only capable ofcultivating long-obsolete techno-phobia? I'd expected at least as muchas the movie this plot was ripped from ( providing this was the onlypreceding movie with identical plot ;), which is Ken Girotti's Hangman(2001). I had extreme difficulty in an attempt to find a worse moviethan Il Cartaio. Don't watch it unless you want to see what shouldn'tbe filmed.
antoine_waked (14 April 2013)
Il Cartaio is one of Argento's weaker efforts but is by no mean his worstfilm.The main problem with this movie is that Argento preferred to play itstraight and make a mainstream film. The result is a bloodless film and aless stylish giallo than we have come to expect from Argento.There are many positive elements in here.First of all, the music by Claudio Simonetti is amazing, one of his bestscores, it has moments reminiscent of Deep Red and Opera, and is the bestaspect in the film.The actors also do a great job, Stefania Rocca is elegant and beautiful,andSilvio Muccino is quite good as the very likable Remo.Despite being bloodless, the film manage to thrill and to shock,especiallyin a powerful scene where the killer win the game and kill the victim, wehear her screams accompanied by the happy Winner Jingle, creating a ratherdisturbing moments.The poker games are very well made, if you know the rules of the game, youwill enjoy them more, the big game between Remo and Il Cartaio is a verystressing and exciting exercise in suspense.Argento also pull some really good moments like Anna's house attack,John'ssearch for clues leading him to a strange place and Remo's superb chase.Allthese moments are quite well directed and remind you of how good Argentoiswith creating tension.Then again, there are many negative aspects to the film. Benoit Debie'sphotography looks uninspired, especially since lighting and camera moveswere usually essentials points in Argento's films.Other really bad thing, is the fact there are no killer stalking victimsscenes, these are really annoying, since Argento start the scene, thencutsbefore anything happens.The killer is also quite easy to guess too and his final scene with Annaisridiculously executed and quite disappointing.As a whole, Il Cartaio is a safe mainstream Giallo, it's not Argento'sbest(Deep Red and Suspiria) and not his worst (Phantom andCat).It's an entertaining film that most of his fans will be able toappreciate.I just hope the success of the film will help him secure The ThirdMother'sbudget.
burrobaggy (14 April 2013)
It's sad when influential talents go off the boil, but everythingArgento has done since Tenbrae seems to have shown all the signs of afilmmaker who has lost interest but still has bills to pay. On the goodside this is nowhere near as bad as Phantom of the Opera or Phenomena.Nor is it as mediocre as The Stendahl Syndrome or Trauma - it justaspires to be that mediocre.Sleepless might have been a minor comeback - silly but with goodset-pieces - but any ground gained is immediately lost with this tepidmisfire. Low on gore, low on style, low on character, it's really justan outline for a movie that he hasn't bothered to fill in. Psychokiller kidnaps women and forces female cop with issues to play internetpoker for their lives. Fill in the blanks film-making ensues, very dullfor the first 80 minutes, almost interesting in the last twenty. Butyou don't need to see this film. It won't offend, it'll just bore.
indy-39 (14 April 2013)
Are there two versions of this film? (Actually there seem to be ..onein English...and a, surprisingly, inferior "in Italian" version atleast from what I have read in the comment section.) More likely thereare two versions of Argento fans...some who admire him as a directorand some who are limited to admiring him as a director of horror/gore.If you are of the former you will probably be pleasantly surprised, asI was, by Il Cartaio. Here Argento is completely in control of a strongscript and story that he co-wrote and he presents an antiseptic gialloin which the threats and chills come from seemingly nonthreateningsources ( computers, dead bodies, card games). The police are relegatedto the status of the audience, forced to watch powerless to stop theproceedings. Does the film have problems...of course...but does thefilm have an idea...an ambition...thankfully yes it does. Worth seeingfor Argento fans who are also serious filmgoers. ( For the detractors,you have a right to your opinion, but call me if DePalma ever directs afilm as good as this one again.)
Pet_Rock (04 April 2013)
Of course it's not Dario's best, but it's not his worst. I give it a5.5, leaning more on the 6 side.Anna Mari (Taras Kostyuk) is a policewoman working with an Irishpoliceman (Liam Cunningham) and a young poker champ (Silvio Muccino) tocatch a killer who kills his young female victims if the police loose agame of video poker.This movie seems like an okay mix of "Silence of the Lambs", "Saw 2",and "CSI".The music, like in all of Darios films, is great. The look of the deadbodies are also fantastic and spooky.However, Phoebe Scholfield and Jay Benedict (both first time writers)did a horrible job of the dialogue. In fact, I didn't like most of thewriting. It was confusing at times but as long as you don't think toodeep into it, you can enjoy this as a neat littlescreaming-and-crying-girl flick with great special effects and so-sokills. They're so-so because most of them are offscreen and similar,but towards the end they get great and unique.So you could easily enjoy this if you just want to pass the time, butdon't expect another Argento classic.
Bjorn (03 April 2013)
Dario Argento's latest thriller, The Card Player, is not Argento at hisbest, but still pretty good. Stefania Rocca plays a detective trying to hunt down a serial killerwho kills his victims after defeating the police in internet pokergames. Liam Cunningham is the Irish cop assisting her.This movie doesn't display much of Argento's visual creativity as hisearlier films did and as a whole is quite different from any of hisother films. For one thing there's no real gore to speak of. With theexception of a few grisly after the fact autopsies there's nothing herein that department since most of the killings take place off-screen.Instead Argento focuses on playing it straight, like almostdeliberately trying to appeal to the mainstream. This could well be anAmerican movie, except maybe for the hilarious dubbing here and thereby supporting characters (but that's a trait one is so used to by now).As usual, the supporting actors don't deliver the goods but the twoleads are quite excellent. Liam Cunningham really delivers in a clichÃ©ridden role and Stefania Rocca shows she's got the goods (in alldepartments). If only the film had more of the "Argento-look" and feel,there's definitely something missing.That said, this film does have it's good points, and a great touch hereand there from the Italian maestro. A stalking sequence is a particularstandout, quite unnerving and masterfully filmed. One character'stragic demise is deliciously grisly and the finale comes off asoriginal and generally well played out. All in all, a (completely) different Argento is still more interestingthan most other directors out there, whether when trying to appeal tothe mainstream or sticking to his trademark giallo's. A terribly underrated thriller, deserves a higher rating.
Review total: 20, showing from 1 to 20