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80% Score
by Horror Fans Based on 2 Reviews
The Card Player

In Theatre : October 06, 2004
Director(s): Dario Argento

The Card Player is going to test Dario Argento’s fan base like no other thriller in his giallo back catalogue: The Italian maestro has directed his most atypical serial killer study ever. It clearly isn’t enough for him to merely use his signature device of always taking the place of the murderers’ black-gloved hands. Now he has totally allied his personality to the central mysterious assassin confronting police in a series of Internet poker games for the lives of three innocent female victims.

A psychological profiler helping the baffled Roman force says at one point that the elusive executioner sees the live Webcam slaughter gambles in terms of the heart-stopping thrill enjoyed by bungee jumpers.

The treasures and delights are there, you just have to take another chance and dig deep to uncover them - because taking chances is what THE CARD PLAYER is thematically all about.

Beginning like an episode of some CSI Euro police procedural offshoot and ending on a frantic Perils of Pauline note complete with silent movie OTT villainy, policewoman Anna Mari (Stefania Rocca) is forced to team up with disgraced Irish cop John Brennan (Liam Cunningham) sidelined from London when The Card Player murders an English tourist. Haunted by personal demons regarding her late gambling addicted father, Anna falls for the troubled Brennan as they attempt to trap the cyber criminal and uncover his identity and motive.

Rocca and Cunningham effectively use their sketchy characterization to build a believable relationship and their sensitive screen chemistry is one of the movie’s best aspects.

Those always engaging events skirt a whole range of differing feelings Argento followers are well used to by now. There’s farce with a tap-dancing, opera-singing morgue attendant. There’s unintentional comedy when the police organize a cheese and wine party to celebrate the release of their chief’s daughter Lucia (Fiore Argento) from the maniac’s clutches thanks to Remo’s card-playing talent. There’s well-oiled suspense generated by such simple editing techniques as cutting between the fuzzy Webcam screams of the third victim (Vera Gemma) and her actual escape attempt in the killer’s remote lair.

Argento’s giallo is a languid examination of emotional sterility, shared guilt, social futility and self-imposed isolation in which narrative only plays a minor role. My advice in how best to enjoy The Card Player is the same as Anna’s to Remo when he worries his video-gaming knowledge won’t be enough to save Lucia’s life. "Let the wind guide you", she says. And wearing my best poker-face, I’ll second that!

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Related The Card Player Movie Reviews
Critic reviews are fantastic and we have many great critics but our community members ARE the horror audience and it is their reviews that really tell you if a film is worth watching.

The Card Player (Il Cartaio) Review by Daniel

Cornered in a local DVD shop, a young woman ranted and raved about her favorite of directors, Dario Argento. "Suspiria", "The Phantom of the Opera", and "The Card Player" were among the titles dropped. I decided to appea...
The Card Player Review by Nirrad

Having been completely disappointed with the last movie I watched by Argento, I was hoping that the next movie would be better. Sure enough it was. "The Card Player" is not your typical Argento film; in fact, you would n...
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