First Reformed

As a New York priest (Ethan Hawke) begins to gather his thoughts in a diary, he’s trying to help a man who’s deeply worried about climate change… Paul Schrader’s most lauded movie in years shares many similarities with Winter Light (1963), but fans of the director will recognize his themes and style. The pastor has a little of Travis Bickle in him as we’re invited to share his thoughts on his journey to radicalization. Hawke is very good in this somber, thoughtful, cold but also passionate meditation on hopelessness, echoing a sense of frustration in the face of crisis and the inability of politicians and capitalism to do the right thing.

2018-U.S. 113 min. Color. Produced by Jack Binder, Greg Clark, Gary Hamilton, Victoria Hill, David Hinojosa, Frank Murray, Deepak Sikka, Christine Vachon. Written and directed by Paul Schrader. Cast: Ethan Hawke (Ernst Toller), Amanda Seyfried (Mary Mansana), Cedric Kyles (Joel Jeffers), Victoria Hill, Philip Ettinger, Michael Gaston.

Trivia: The first film where Cedric the Entertainer is credited as Cedric Kyles.

Last word: “The turning point for me was when I went to present an award to Pawel Pawlikowski for his film ‘Ida’ (2013) at a ceremony for the National Society of Film Critics. He convinced me that it was not only financially viable for me to make a film like ‘Ida’, but that I was coming up for 70 and now was definitely the time to do it. We walked and talked for about nine blocks back to the hotel and by the end of that I’d totally convinced myself it was the moment for me to start on the script I always told myself I’d never write.” (Schrader, BFI)

 

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