Monday, October 02, 2006

The Card Player

(2004) ***

It is comforting to know that Dario Argento is still making movies about twisted serial killers after almost 40 years of doing so. The Card Player is his most recent offering and has been patiently sitting in my Netflix queue since last year's competition. In this tale, a homicidal maniac kidnaps young women and forces the police to play online poker with him. The stakes – the girl's very life! If the police refuse to play, he'll kill her. For every hand that they lose, a body part is amputated. Oh yeah, and he's kind of a sore loser. Can the bickering, incompetent police squad get it together to locate the killer before another poor girl is accosted?

I was disappointed to discover that Argento is getting tamer in his old age. Don't get me wrong, there are some horrific moments including a man getting dragged from a speedboat by his neck, but it just didn't jar. There is one great sequence that shows (very convincingly) what happens when a person is run over by a train. But overall, Argento replaced his signature elaborate deaths with a leave-it-to-your-imagination approach. Additionally, the typical wooden acting thoroughly dragged down what might have been another gem.


Octopunk said...

Argento is an odd bird. His body of work contains many unexpected quirks, just like any one of his movies. Or maybe Europe in general.

Summerisle said...

Yeah, I've become somewhat of an expert on his films and they range from brilliant to blah. The ones worth watching are:

1) Suspiria
2) Bird With the Crystal Plumage
3) Sleepless
4) Deep Red
5) Phenomena

I need to revisit Inferno. That was one of the most f*$cked up movies I've ever seen.