First Reformed (2017): Drama / Mystery / Thriller

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Tormented by his own past, a minister of a local congregation, in the outskirts of New York, counsels a young couple with deeply unsettling results for everyone.

Paul Shrader, writer of “Taxi Driver” (1976), “Raging Bull” (1980), and more, comes back with yet another provocative film which he also directs. “First Reformed” is not for the average viewer. It is for the patient one and the one with the sheer will to understand that actions trigger incalculable reactions, be it on the planet or on the human psyche. Very slow paced with no intention of impressing or pleasing anyone, “First Reformed”, becomes judge, jury, and executioner, standing up for the environment and God opposite religion and mankind. A character-driven story, with directing that clearly defines the editing pace and acting that shows you without telling you. And the few times it does, it shocks!

Rationalizing it might not be the best way to approach it as, other than the aforementioned, “First Reformed” puts under the microscope and subliminally scrutinizes sanity and how, unbeknownst to us, everything is connected.

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