The Card Counter: Explanation of the end! Plan of Cirk and more.


Paul Schrader’s signature image is that of a lonely middle-aged man who drinks a glass of alcohol and writes in his diary, pouring out all his dark thoughts and sinful secrets.

Schrader enjoys burying himself deep within these men and their tortured souls, but there is a funny coincidence in the way he attributes their respective problems to his characters. His captivating new movie, The Card Counter, is no exception: Oscar Isaac plays a professional player who served in Abu Ghraib.

We don't know all of this from the start. The character of Isaac goes by the name William Tell, a stupid gamer pseudonym. When we first meet William, he tells us that he was imprisoned for years for an undefined offense. It was behind bars that William learned to count cards.

Now he spends his days jumping from casino to casino, playing blackjack and poker, and doing just enough to beat the house without emptying it. He returns to his hotel room in the evening, writes in his diary, and attempts to keep his demons at bay. If you liked the movie and want to know the explanation for the end of The Card Counter, read on!


At first, Cirk and Bill's meeting seems like a mere coincidence, but it's quickly revealed that Tye Sheridan's character has intentions for Bill and that he also knows the latter's dark secret: he was a former prison guard at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison who worked under Major Gordo, a military defense contractor.

Cirk's mother left, his father started drinking and ended up killing himself. Cirk's plan for revenge is simple: kidnap Gordo, torture him, then kill him. Bill, who is older, wiser, and who was present at Abu Ghraib, understands what Cirk does not understand: They still participated in the torture.

Corrupted and under pressure from Gordo or not, the hard truth that Cirk doesn't want to see or that he's not emotionally mature enough to see is that his father kept torturing people and that was to him to make peace with it and redeem himself.

Willam Dafoe's villainous character may have ruined Cirk's father's life, but his father also ruined him himself and Cirk refuses to see him. That’s why his plan won’t work. The only way to overcome this ordeal is to come to some kind of understanding and to find peace through understanding.

By the end of the third act, it looks like Bill finally managed to get to Cirk, even though he had to take some extreme measures. Eventually, Bill realizes that his more sideways approach to reaching Cirk isn't working and decides to scare him.

The kid is rightly terrified and Bill, who no longer threatens to torture him but remains threatening, reveals that he saved some money so Cirk could pay off his college debts and go back to school. saying to forget his plan, take the money and go see his mother. Wisely, Cirk accepts and does it all, at least on the surface. The horrific twist of the third act reveals that Cirk didn't visit his mother at all, but visited Gordo's house to carry out his plan.

All of Cirk's rage has been channeled towards Gordo's target and it's not something that will wear off. Throughout the movie, Cirk tells us that Bill's plan to distract Cirk and help him find meaning doesn't work. Gambling movies generally emphasize the glitz of casinos, but The Card Counter emphasizes their creepy side.


After the terrible final apotheosis in which Bill sees a newsletter stating that Cirk was killed by Gordo, which prompts him to go to Gordo's house and torture the former Army Major, ultimately the kill, he surrenders to the police. He returns to prison, this time for murder.

The end of The Card Counter shows La Linda, who comes to visit Bil in prison. It’s kind of a surprise. They had started a love affair, but he let her down, not only giving up his poker tournament, but also letting her down, all to kill a man, and violently, too. The final shot shows La Linda resting her fingertip on the glass partition that separates it and Bill does the same and the shot is held until the end.

It's ambiguous but full of meaning. First, it suggests that La Linda forgave her because she understands the darkness. She knows next to nothing about him, only that he has a lot of baggage in his past, some of which can be very dark. It's horrible and tragic, but La Linda's understanding smile and gesture towards Bill seems to indicate that she now knows his whole story and understands why he did what he did.

It's also symbolic as a counterexample of a concept Bill explained to Cirk earlier in the movie: tilt. This is a term used in poker to describe a player who gets angry or shaken up emotionally during a game and as a result lets his emotions get the better of him, adopting an insane strategy that involves often playing excessively aggressive.

The end of The Card Counter, in which La Linda and Bill's fingers are perfectly symmetrical to each other, symbolizes the balance Bill has regained now that he's back in prison. He finally confronted his past, even if only in the most violent way, and finally accepted that he is happier in prison than outside, because there is no risk that its original equilibrium will be upset.

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