In the Dark


First Reformed
Produced and distributed by A24 
Written and directed by Paul Schrader 

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Produced by Tremolo Productions 
Distributed by Focus Features 

Fashionable reviewers have brought out the heavy artillery to praise director Paul Schrader’s latest film, First Reformed, calling it transcendent, uncompromising, soaring, etc, etc.  Maybe they saw a different film from the dank, pretentious one I did.

It seems to me that these good folk have avoided the fact that whatever other excellencies Schrader possesses, he’s a pornographer, literally.  His films rigorously dwell on moral turpitude, portraying the twin hells of sexual exploitation and commercialized violence.  In 1976 he and director Martin Scorsese made Taxi Driver, in which Jodie Foster, then 12 years old, plays the part of a prostitute working the streets of Manhattan.  In one scene she’s shown unzipping Robert De Niro’s fly preparatory to fellating him.  I guess we can be grateful that the act is not shown; nevertheless, one wonders what effect its simulation had on Ms. Foster’s life thereafter.  In 1980 Schrader and Scorsese made Raging Bull, the story of boxer Jake LaMotta’s career in and out of the ring in which we get to...

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