First Reformed


Taxi Driver meets Silence. The light political stuff is mild, but you can see the Paul Schrader speak through it. Travis Bickle’s youthful rage has turned into elderly depression and sadness for the heirs of his generation.

A low level reverend, shepherding a small community, whose main job is showing the Dutch Colonial church to tourists, meets the bleakness of the world when it steers an environmental activist through the pregnancy of his wife. He fails spectacularly, but his single talk with the guy pushes him into a deep dive into an investigation into church dealings with the secular world, leading predictably into weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is exacerbated by his weak flesh and past transgressions.

After the plot unfolds, he is ready to cleanse the world by fire and brimstone, but even that fails, although not by the wrong reasons.

The comparison with Silence makes no sense really. While that was about internal positions within the church, on the face of external aggressions, this is about the position of the church in the world, when it violates its core values and is complacent or conniving with aggressions on its own flock.

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This is my place for ramblings about sequences of images that exploit the human visual limitation know as persistence of vision.

Author
somini