The Card Counter

The Card Counter ★★★★★

the desert of the Real. not so much a film about people as it is about bodies, in transitory phases. nondescript caverns of capital lit only by signifiers of other streams of accumulation of capital, and the occasional spark of fear in someone's eye- but that spark is immediately killed by the need to hide any trace of emotion, because none of this is real, it's just a game. these bodies act on autopilot, with ruthless, soldierly efficiency- muscle memory.
"the body remembers".
in this unreal space, the individual can't afford to lose despite how little the simulation matters, so they tear away anything that might weigh them down. the human living place stripped down to its bare essentials, draped in pristine white sheets so as to stop their fingers from contaminating the world around them- after all, they've got blood on their hands, and no amount of simulating purgatory in this mortal realm will save them from damnation in the next. they know this, which is why they construct ridiculous fantasies to keep that power high going no matter what. the problem, though, is that every space they occupy echoes, echoes with the voices that they silenced, echoes with the pounding of their heartbeat that grows louder and louder because of at any moment their fantasies could collapse. I say "they" because the legacy of torture and imperialism that fuels the existence of schrader's God's Lonely Man in this is one that we all partake in. it's all there, all you have to do is reach out and touch it.

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