In Paul Schrader’s complicated thriller, Ethan Hawke uncovers a small church’s dark secret and corporate complicity.
Reverend Toller (Ethan Hawke) manages his deep grief and acute spiritual loneliness while ministering to a tiny congregation in wintry, upstate New York. When Mary (Amanda Seyfried) asks him to counsel her troubled husband, a radical environmentalist, Toller is confronted with a series of agonizing moral choices. Writer-director Paul Schrader has spent his iconic career relentlessly investigating obsessive heroes who live on the razor’s edge between violence and salvation. Here, he continues this 40-year project: using his unparalleled intellectual rigor, a purity of cinematic means and Hawke’s astonishing performance to devastating emotional effect. Referring to this film as Diary of a Country Priest meets Taxi Driver (which he wrote), Schrader has painted a new masterpiece. (US, 2017, 1h48m)
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