In Rome, after the abduction of a British tourist, the police inspector Anna Mari is contacted by the criminal, who self-entitles The Card Player, challenging the police department to dispute a video poker with him where the prize would be the life of the victim. The Chief of Police refuses to participate and the victim is tortured and killed in front of an Internet web cam. The British detective John Brennan is assigned to investigate the case and when another woman is kidnapped, they invite the addicted player Remo to play for the police. Anna and John lead the investigation trying to disclose who might be the serial-killer. —IMDb
Dario Argento was born on September 7, 1940 in Rome, Italy. He is the first born son of famed Italian producer Salvatore Argento and Brazilian fashion model Elda Luxardo. Argento recalls getting his ideas for film making from his close knit family and from Italian folk tales told by his parents and other family members, including an aunt who told him frightening bedtime stories. Argento based most of his thriller movies on childhood trauma, yet his own, according to him, was a normal one. Along with tales spun by his aunt, Argento was impressed by stories from The Grimm Brothers, Hans Christian Andersen, and Edgar Allan Poe. Argento started his career writing for various film journal magazines while still in his teens attending a Catholic high school. After graduation, instead of going to college, Argento took a job as a columnist for a roman evening newspaper, Paese Sera. Inspired by the movies, Argento later found work as a screenwriter and wrote several screenplays for a number of… read more
The Card Player works as an extended CSI. It isn't as profound as Argento's Terror at the Opera or Suspiria but it's a typically suspenseful and unique giallo nevertheless. The video poker theme is a welcome change, appearing all the more vicious especially in an age where online gambling is the norm. If you dug Sleepless, you should watch The Card Player - if only due to it's contrasting tone to the other movie.
From The Bird with the Crystal Plumage to Opera, Argento has long been fascinated by the power of the image and the passivity of film viewing. The Card Player is a continuation of this theme; a film about looking and seeing, not as procedural, but as commentary. The characters - gathered around a screen, forced to watch the scenes of depravity unfold (but unable to assist) - become a stand-in for the audience...