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Art House

First Reformed (2018 in Spain)

Elevator Pitch.

Ernst Toller is the pastor of a small church in upstate New York with a congregation of about five, but with support from a popular church up the road, and money from a conglomorate which is polluting the planet. His son has been killed in Afghanistan and his wife has left him, and the husband of one of his congregation who he has been councelling has topped himself. In the house of the suicide’s wife he has found an explosive vest and taken it home. The rededication of the church is due to take place full of the people he has grown to hate…


There are a whole variety of meeting between Toller and the pastor of the larger church, between him and the young man who is against his wife giving birth in the terrible planet we are all living on. And at intervals we see him writing his journal, drinking and being thoughtful. The pastor’s residence is almost empty except for a single bed and a desk; one room only contains a chair. He also visits the house of the young woman whose husband has committed suicide. There is no music except towards the end when the score is threatening. So, no actual violence, some drinking and a bit of snogging.

A View I’ll start by saying that Rotten Tomatoes gave it 93%, and several critics have likened it to various works which are important to students of film. Well, I’m with the 7% who did not like it, although I have to admit that I slept for some of it, so did my wife and judging by the snoring so did several of the audience close to us. And I can’t help it, I can’t believe that a priest, no matter how demented could contemplate destroying the whole congregation in a church just to get at one man.
Duration 1h 53m Rating (UK) 15
Source of story An original screenplay
Director Paul Schrader
Writers/Script Paul Schrader
Starring Ethan Hawke, Amanda Seyfried, Cedric the Entertainer, Victoria Hill
Additional Info The Director/writer wrote Taxi Driver and some have identified similarities within this film to that story.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels


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