Rented: The Card Player

Discussion in 'Euro Horror' started by shift, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. Cydeous

    Cydeous Axxon N

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    I saw the film in Italian as well and I didn't laugh at it. In fact, the language seemed to fit the film perfectly. I think that the film was filmed in Italian but was written in Italian. Sometimes translations sound pretty silly unless the translator is really good.

    I haven't seen the English (apparently original) version yet but I was afraid of exactly what you've described. I reached a point where I don't want to purchase DVDs that I know that I will disappointed with. I mean, there is so much that I don't have that I know are good.
     
  2. dwatts

    dwatts New Member

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    The English track tranforms it, that's for sure. Sadly, there's only one language option on my DVD, so I'm out of luck reverting to what I first saw. For someone like yourself, I'd caution you that you might want to give this one a wide berth.
     
  3. Cujo108

    Cujo108 Guest

    I watched this one for the first time the other night. I had heard almost nothing but bad things about it, so I wasn't sure what to expect. When all was said and done though, and the credits were rolling, I was very pleased.

    It is definitely a major change from Argento's prior films, but I'm not one to fear change, especially not when said change brings about such an interesting film. This isn't a generic mystery thriller that seems like something out of Hollywood. I've heard it described as such on numerous occasions, but I beg to differ. The film's mystery is quite intriguing, and all of the scenes of police work and puzzle solving always maintain interest. The card duels, while perhaps a silly sounding idea on paper, work very well in keeping up the tension levels. It also helps that Argento has the victims on screen via webcam every time there's a duel. It gives the scenes more weight when you actually see what you're playing for. The first actual duel makes for a painfully grim scene, as the police lose every single round. There's not an ounce of hope.

    The two leads give excellent performances. Stefania Rocca and Liam Cunningham have good chemistry, and they make for two of Argento's most likeable leads. They're relationship never feels forced either. It feels quite natural, and this is obviously a good thing, especially though since it pays off later in the film. Many of the supporting characters are dubbed rather poorly, but it didn't really distract me. It was great to see Fiore Argento on screen again too.

    The lack of gore doesn't hurt the film even the slightest bit. Argento may be known for inventive, gruesome murder scenes, but the lack of gore here actually adds to the impact. When we see these women being killed on the computer screen, we don't actually see them being killed in the literal sense because the killer's damage is being done offscreen. This makes the scenes more compelling, at least to me anyway. The examinations of the bodies are about as gory as this film gets, and that's just fine.

    Another complaint I've seen thrown around is that this looks like a TV movie. I disagree with this completely. The camerawork is often stunning, and it reminded me of some of the most beautiful giallos of the 70s with its wonderful shots of the surrounding environment. Argento also makes wonderful use of colors and shadows to further flesh out his story. One of the scenes that is simply classic Argento is when
    Anna is riding with the killer and she realizes he's the Card Player when she sees all the little plant seeds flying everywhere. It makes for a beautiful scene, and its just the type of thing you'd expect from Dario.

    There are many other standout scenes as well.
    The sequence where Anna is attacked by the killer in her home is really well done, and very creepy too. The way Argento has her discover the killer's presence by seeing his reflection in the vase is both a clever use of the surroundings and very unnerving. John's discovery of the killer's hideout is also wonderful. His unexpected demise is one of the film's few gruesome moments, and since he is such a likeable character, it is also a hard hitting development. Then there's the final sequence on the train tracks. Some people hate this ending, but I think its unique and fun.

    Anyway, after viewing this, I really don't understand its bad reputation. I loved it, and I think after a few more viewings, it could actually become one of my favorite Argento films. It is certainly nowhere near the bottom tier.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 18, 2005
  4. thrashard76

    thrashard76 Guest

    I liked this one myself. It was waaaay better than Deep Red, which actually put me to sleep. At least with Card Player it had some nice plot twists and dialogue between the actors. I just wish Dario would have shown more gore during the internet gaming sessions.
     
  5. The Chaostar

    The Chaostar Johnny Hallyday forever

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    You gotta see Deep Red again mate!
     
  6. nukfut

    nukfut Guest

    Yeah, Deep Red is pretty great, IMO.
     
  7. orville

    orville Guest

    It is about time for an Argento/Carpenter teamup. :sleepy:
     
  8. thrashard76

    thrashard76 Guest

    Yeah you might be right Chaostar cuz when I saw it the one time it didn't do anything for a while then something might happen then Zzzzzz for a while. I mean it bored me that much. But a repeat viewing may be in order. I watched Seven Blood Stained Orchids a second time and liked it much better but then I made sure to stay up for they final scene this time too.
     
  9. Big Bobby D

    Big Bobby D Guest

    Hey Orville, Don't ya mean another Argento/Romero teamup? :sleepy:
     
  10. Cujo108

    Cujo108 Guest

    I forgot to mention that even on my normal TV, AB's DVD looked pretty damn bad at times. It'd be nice of them to correct the problem and offer replacement discs like they did a few years back, but I guess they don't consider a screwed up transfer worth such trouble.
     
  11. Cydeous

    Cydeous Axxon N

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    You've got to be kidding. :fucked:
     
  12. rhett

    rhett Administrator

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    Like many in this thread I too was deterred from watching the film because of the middling reviews and bad press the film received upon release. Eight years later (at least according to the copyright on the credits), consider me impressed. Argento reaches here a bit, and the cop thriller genre seems to suit him well. Other than maybe Asia in The Stendhal Syndrome I thought Stefania Rocca gave the finest performance for a female lead in an Argento film. Some of her lines are weak and she isn't properly fleshed out as a character to start the film, but she really does a lot with her lines and that last shot of her during the credits really goes a long way. The other thing I was impressed with was how Argento handled the story - it moved quickly and with a lot of characters, yet he was able to really keep the focus and provide for some fabulous twists and revelations in the final act. Unlike most gialli (including Argento's own) the film doesn't seem to be so infatuated with its cleverness or the clues, they unfold in an organic way that's very gratifying for the viewer, since you discover them without the film explicitly telling you (how they handled the whole sound effect that John was investigating was wonderfully understated). Simonetti's score is all over the place, but it's definitely experimental and even ahead of its time. There are a couple real standout pieces, though. The cinematography, while not as colorful or stylish as per usual with Argento, still exhibits a visual flair and a fine use for natural lighting to create grit.

    Overall I really enjoyed this. Glad I watched it after all these years. Definitely one of Argento's more underrated works and one that's definitely worth checking out for fans. It is aging very well.

    Anchor Bay assembled quite the DVD for this film too...the extras are splendid, especially that mini-doc on Simonetti.
     
  13. JGrendel

    JGrendel New Member

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    I still gotta get a copy of this at some point.
     
  14. SaxCatz

    SaxCatz New Member

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    [Jay Sherman]It stinks![/Jay Sherman]
    Seriously Rhett? I'm very surprised you enjoyed this. I have it as part of the Anchor Bay Dario Argento Collection steelbook & I honest have not been able to get through it in at least four attempts to do so.
     
  15. spawningblue

    spawningblue Deadite

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    I enjoyed this movie as well. Although I have been able to find at least something to enjoy in all of his recent flicks.
     
  16. wago70

    wago70 Surviving on nostalgia

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    I've liked his recent efforts a great deal. I have not seen PELTS or ...HITCHCOCK? but I was actually quite impressed with how twisted JENIFER was.
     
  17. MaxRenn

    MaxRenn Member

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    I actually do not think that Argento's recent movies are that bad. Of course they are not as good as his 70s and 80s output but I think Sleepless, The Card Player and Mother of Tears and the MOH films all have something to offer. The Card Player is a solid thriller with two good leads and a well-worked out plot. The climax is a little silly though.

    Anyone seen Giallo?. Now that's a bad Argento movie - easily his worst.
     
  18. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    Maybe i'm just an Argento Apologist and I've only seen it once but I kind of liked Giallo.
     
  19. MaxRenn

    MaxRenn Member

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    Hey, as a fan of his Phantom of the Opera I'm an Argento Apologist but I draw the line at Giallo - it is the only one of his films that I actively did not like. It just seemed like a tired attempt to update an Argento film by adding in some modern "torture porn" elements. The killer seemed really childish and there were no memorable sequences - just unintentionally funny ones. There were some good ideas but I felt that the whole film was a mess.
     
  20. digitalnasties

    digitalnasties New Member

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    I think i will pass on this film like i did with The Stendhal Syndrome which turn out to be a unintentional comedy.
     

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