Paul Schrader has made the same movie for his entire career. 2019’s FIRST REFORMED is no different. Ethan Hawke plays a former military chaplain turned priest of a Upstate New York historic church on the eve of its 250th anniversary. After a jarring encounter with a radical environmentalist, he is set down a dark and volatile path. Lots of great, bleak shots of all kinds of churches and hypocrites.
This movie is ridiculously well written and directed. Besides his writing credits on TAXI DRIVER and BRINGING OUT THE DEAD, Schrader is also one of Facebook’s most prolific and profound posters. His most famous musing, which defines his work and life would likely be November 9th 2016’s “I enter unwashed into a world that disrespects me and my values.” If you feel this way and hate oil executives, this movie is for you.
Much of the film was shot on location mere minutes from my childhood home. I was astonished to see this, which then turned to anger. How many locations I daydreamed about as a teenager, now permanently seared into the sensor of an Arri Alexa, and the minds if film buffs worldwide. Schrader has taken so much, but never fails to give. This movie is certainly worth a watch if you care about domestic terrorism, Protestant’s, Cedric the Entertainer, and Bayside, Queens.
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