First Reformed of Paul Schrader | Review


Published on Sep 30, 2018


It was certainly one of the most important authors in the history of the american cinema and world Paul Schrader, who, like a few, helped to forge, develop and extend the themes of the New Hollywood with the screenplays for Taxi Driver, the Yakuza, Raging Bull, Obsession and Rolling Thunder, without forgetting the control of the film essential as Tracksuit Blue, American Gigolo, Kiss of the Panther, Hardcore, Mishima, Affliction and the mythological Dominion, the prequel to The Exorcist William Friedkin, whose publishing history deserves its own article.

Not one of the newcomers, in short, that with First Reformed has the same social alienation that overflowed from Taxi Drivers but from the New York underground of the Martin Scorsese la cala in the atmosphere of the catholic church reformed. The psychological collapse that in the Travis Bickle Robert De Niro led to an existential crisis, to the reverend Ernst Toller of Ethan Hawke (a proof Oscar, his), becomes an imbalance in the spiritual, and the more the imbalance becomes evident the more it is obvious the fact that Schrader with this movie has made half masterpiece.

In addition to being a great director and a wonderful writer, in fact, Schrader is first of all an excellent film critic and a passionate student of this art: such as Olivier Assayas, and Quentin Tarantino is not only fully aware of what is the type of cinema that it aspires to achieve, but above all, he knows the mechanisms to be used to pay homage to that type of cinema inside of their works, without necessarily copying them shamelessly. In the First Reformed the hand of his favourite directors is both well-hidden that very clear, from the evocative images of Andrei Tarkovsky to the narrative dear to Ingmar Bergman, of course, to the minimalism of his idol Robert Bresson.

And so the Schrader is moved between The Diary of a well-Kept Countryside and the Lights of Winter and tells the story of the reverend Toller, that day has very little to do because of a tiny congregation, and that night remains awake to drink for the fault of an endless supply of alcohol and, above all, a strong inability to say no.

Decided to start keeping a diary, every day for a year, and soon, thanks to this stratagem, the narrative (already used in Taxi Driver and The drug Dealer, among others) we come to knowledge of his inner demons because of his personal history. The monotony of the cold, the everyday life of this New York suburb is perennially covered in snow is interrupted when the young Mary (Amanda Seyfried) asks the reverend Toller to help her husband: the man, deeply depressed, totally nihilistic, and very worried for the global warming, does not want the woman's place in the world, the son who is pregnant and has asked to have an abortion.

The situation is complicated when Mary is in the garage a vest explosive built by her husband ...

More do not say, but it is enough to remember that when you look at the abyss of reflection, the abyss looks into you, and maybe the reflections obscure the husband of Mary infect the already rather unstable reverend Toller. We will not go to the cinema (it's hard to sell a movie like that in a Country so cittàdelvaticanizzato) but it will come directly to home video, so if you are looking for an action or a psychological thriller, the council is to hold closed the wallet: if you want a movie that will ask you to keep an open mind, then treat yourself to have to First Reformed and prepare to be sucked in by its atmosphere and transcendental, and contemplative.

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