First Reformed

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Someone has to do something.

First Reformed is a very interesting look at the problem of climate change and ecological disaster through the eyes of religion. The church, those charged with protecting and nurturing God’s creation, has done little to nothing in that regard.

I really respected the depiction of the modern day church that First Reformed shows. I grew up in a Christian household, and witnessed fist-hand how a lot of churches have become more concerned with making money and filling seats than praising and worshiping God.

Ethan Hawke gives a stunning performance as Ernst Toller. One of the best of his career, if I dare to say so. His portrayal of a beaten down, miserable, lonely, frustrated man was so heart-breakingly painful to watch.

The cinematography was, as expected from A24, top notch. Many beautiful, lingering shots. I did enjoy how a lot of the scenes featuring only Toller were dark and dreary and clearly reflected the man that they featured.

That said, I felt like this film was all over the place.

I understand that Reverend Toller (Ethan Hawke) felt that he had nothing left to live for. I understand that he felt tormented, and tested, and neglected by God. I understand that, through researching climate change, he felt ashamed and angry and wanted to do something.

But blowing himself up and killing dozens of people? I just couldn’t get there.

Also… the ending? I don’t even…

This film has been receiving outstanding scores and reviews and I honestly just don’t get it. Perhaps I missed something, or perhaps I’m just not “intellectual” enough to understand.

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