The Card Player (2004)

I posted on Facebook about how little I enjoyed Trauma when I watched it recently, and Brendan (from whom I’ve borrowed these films) made a crack about it being the worst film in the Argento collection apart from the two later films. He wasn’t joking, at least not if this one is indicative; The Card Player was pretty fucking dire. In the interests of fairness, it should be said there’s nothing inherently wrong with the central idea, whereby a serial killer challenges the police to online card games where if they win he’ll let his victim go, but if he wins he’ll do bad bad things to them instead. That’s a potentially interesting plot, the idea is all right. The execution is a damnably different matter. I see a number of reviews describing the film as being like a TV movie (which, amusingly enough, his next film would actually be) or an episode of CSI, and it might have been better in that latter format (for one thing, it would’ve been half as long); several of those reviews also complain about the film’s style, too, which Argento says in the DVD features was a deliberate attempt to update his visuals. Unfortunately for him, his old visuals are what people evidently prefer from him (with good reason, since style was generally his strong point in the past); this is so flat it almost makes Trauma look like “real” Argento. And the acting… I don’t know, it feels unfair to complain about that cos no one is given much to work with, but hardly anyone tries anyway. The final indignity is the English dubbing, and I’ve complained before about that sort of thing, and I know that this wouldn’t magically become a good film in Italian, but the English dub is fucking awful, the English dialogue and delivery just sink it. Can things get any worse for uncle Dario? Let’s find out when we finish off the Argento collection tomorrow…

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One thought on “The Card Player (2004)

  1. Andrew Buckle November 13, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I recently introduced myself to Argento with The Bird With the Crystal Plumage and Suspiria. A couple of excellent films. The latter being extraordinary. I don’t think I’ll give this one a go, however.

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