Oscar Isaac stars in Paul Schrader’s ‘The Card Counter,’ in theaters

Paul Schrader is on a late-career roll.

Writing the scripts for “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” gets you a free pass for life. As a director, though, Schrader has been more hit and miss. But with 2017’s brilliant “First Reformed” and now “The Card Counter,” he has tapped into something deep and dark — the soul of the nation, maybe, as cliched as that sounds.

But it’s true.

Where “First Reformed,” fueled by Ethan Hawke’s performance, took a roundabout-but-effective route to deal with environmental issues, “The Card Counter” rides Oscar Isaac’s more controlled portrayal of the title character, a gambler who finds not only a measure of control at the tables but also a possible path to redemption, in taking on the American government’s sanctioning of torture.