Talk about a touchy subject, especially for today's World, but "First Reformed" juggles the topics of modern religion and climate change. Needless to say, depending on what you think, this movie may or may not be for you. Some people might even say that there are some heavy handed messaging here. I would argue that despite what you think, you probably should watch it anyway. It has provocative ideas that are presented to you, and encourages you to think about what you just watched. Then along with that, you're going to want to reserve some time to think about the final scenes of the movie as well.
Written and Directed by legendary film maker Paul Schrader, who is probably most famous for his work with "Taxi Driver, "Raging Bull," and "The Last Temptation Of Christ," expect to follow a familiar main protagonist who is... complicated. There's a welcome confidence with the film-making here, from the deliberate pacing, the straight forward narrative, the editing, to even the aspect ratio. He is however absolutely not above surprising the audience with particular turn of events, that you will have to decide for yourself whether you agree or disagree with.
Short of me spoiling the movie by directly commenting on the story and themes presented in the film, I can safely say that there's a simplicity to the story telling that some people might find boring. I however was completely engaged by everything Ethan Hawke's character had to deal with, plus the other supporting characters that makes an impact to his every day life. Expect conversations that are suppose to get a reaction from you with some of the things said, and Schrader isn't afraid to let some of those scenes linger longer than you probably expect them to.
Beyond the writing and the directing, one of the main reasons to see "First Reformed" is the performance by Ethan Hawke as Father Toller. It was like he was destined to play this character, and wow what a role. While it's likely that this film is going to fly under many people's radar, I'm glad this was made, and I'm glad I took the time to watch it.
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