What is the Movie Card Counter Based On?

What is the Movie Card Counter Based On?

21.12.2021 Off By Josh Warhall

The film “Card Counter, written and directed by Paul Schrader, is a crime drama rooted in trauma and drama and highlights keen eye for fascinating stories which are fundamentally tales about human conscience. Writer-director Paul Schrader is well known for his stories that have a deft emotional as well as clever metaphors.

The movie revolves around a former military interrogator by the name William Tell (Oscar Isaac), who is addicted to gambling and is haunted by his past. Through a young man’s pursuit for revenge, William Tell finds a chance at redemption.

Like many people who have watched “The Card Counter”, you might also be curious to learn and know more about the inspiration behind it. In this post, we have covered everything that you might want to know. Read on to find out.

Is the Film Based on a True Story?

Well, “The Card Counter” movies is not based on a true story. It is developed from Paul Schrader’s original concept. Schrader, who was intrigued by who visit casinos on a regular basis and gamble every day, is the one who penned the screenplay. To him, the activity is zombie-like and he wished to find out why someone would find such a lifestyle to be the best. It is this wish that inspired creation of a multifaceted backstory for the main character influenced by the real-life elements.

Of these real-world experiences, the most prominent one the connection of the main character to the Abu Ghraib prison. The prison is notorious for the way it treats prisoners in inhuman way. Opened in 1950s, the Abu Ghraib prison is infamous for torturing prisoners and forcing them to live in excruciating conditions. Saddam Hussein was using the prison in the 1980 for US political prisoners. This went on until the prison became defunct in 2014.

In The Card Counter” movie, William Tell is trained in various techniques of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison by Major John Gordo (Willem Defoe). The movie also features some really disconcerting sequences illustrating torture.

Schrader, in an interview with GQ, explained why he chose to include scenes of torture. He says that the torture is of memory, a nightmare. He says that he needed something in the story that could help raise the stake of everything as the viewer began to figure out the extent to which that was working. He explains that his intention was not to compete with the other films that have also done Abu Ghraib, but to show the viewers the memory. According to him, the scenes of torture are meant to add a layer of humanity to William Tell, and to help the viewer connect his feelings of remorse and guilt.  

Schrader the Character, William, was not inspired by any real figures, but he studied the real life of Charles Granner when he was doing research for the movie. So, while the film is not based on Graner, a former US Army member who was convicted of abusing prisoners during his posting at the prison, the fact that such a person existed gives the viewer the kind of freedom to actually imagine it.

Generally, “The Card Counter” movie is a fictional story that is rooted in a piece of the history of human. The movie is an elaborate character study in which gambling is used as a metaphor for someone who is on a journey of redemption after committing unforgivable acts.