Author Topic: First Reformed  (Read 141 times)

Junior

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First Reformed
« on: June 09, 2018, 06:14:44 PM »
So, what was that?
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FLYmeatwad

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2018, 01:50:34 PM »
I liked the part where they floated.

oldkid

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2018, 10:44:14 PM »
Okay, this blew me away. 

Okay, that may not be too much of a surprise.  I could make a fine list of films that I relate to that are about struggling religious leaders:  The Mission, Calvary, The Overnighters, Machine Gun Preacher...well, maybe not that one.  I would certainly add First Reformed to that list.

Here is what I saw.  You guys tell me if you feel the same.

The world needs to be saved.  Literally.  Humans are destroying the planet and we have different powers who *could* participate in it's salvation.  The main players in this story are big business and big church.

But the question of the film is What is the means of salvation? 

Michael = Despair-- There is no hope, human life must just end.

Rev. Toller = Self-sacrifice, mostly as personal redemption

Esther = Self-care, which Toller hates because he's chosen self-sacrifice

Pastor Jeffers = The only salvation is through the destruction of the world

Balq = The world doesn't need to be saved, we are already doing all we can

Bomb vest = Destroy the enemies of the world, recognizing that innocents will also be destroyed

Mary = Hope in the future, creating new life

I could bring up the religious allegory, but a lot of it is pretty obvious.

The final scene where Toller is leaning between two methods and then a third appears and she is chosen.  But I wonder about their future.  Has he taken Michael's place?  Is he going to return to despair? What will Mary be saddled with, having him raise her child? 

Anyway, just some thoughts.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 10:47:31 PM by oldkid »
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Junior

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2018, 12:32:53 PM »
Awesome, I was hoping you'd see this one soon. I think your rundown is pretty accurate to what I saw, too. But I disagree about the ending.

Remember when Michael talks about the last thought you have before you die? I think everything after Rev. Toller pours the drano in to the glass is the last thought he has before he dies (or maybe it's even heaven?). He gets to have the love he kind of needed and he's wrapped up in it for eternity. Seems like a nice enough thought. And it even makes sense with what we see. Remember, Pastor Jeffers couldn't enter the house but Mary seemed to make it in just fine.
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oldkid

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2018, 06:05:20 PM »
Awesome, I was hoping you'd see this one soon. I think your rundown is pretty accurate to what I saw, too. But I disagree about the ending.

Remember when Michael talks about the last thought you have before you die? I think everything after Rev. Toller pours the drano in to the glass is the last thought he has before he dies (or maybe it's even heaven?). He gets to have the love he kind of needed and he's wrapped up in it for eternity. Seems like a nice enough thought. And it even makes sense with what we see. Remember, Pastor Jeffers couldn't enter the house but Mary seemed to make it in just fine.

I'd have to see it again.  Which I will, but it'll take a while.   I thought that Pastor J and Mary tried different doors.  But your interpretation makes sense of the length of the final shot, and the background music of "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms". 

BTW, the music which is playing before that final service while they were waiting for the Reverend to arrive?  "Onward Christian Soldiers"  Each piece of music was chosen carefully.  Even the references to "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"-- which is about defeating Satan, which the Reverend also refers to when he put on the vest and quoted a passage which speaks of "putting on the full armour of God", although the passage he quotes says, "Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers in the heavenly places."

The Christian culture points used here are so deep I could do a commentary on every scene.
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Will

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2018, 12:12:42 AM »
I thought this was silly, like an Americanized/modernized/bastardized version of WINTER LIGHT. It's fascinating in its thematic scope within the current cinematic and cultural climate, but often gets too didactic/obvious for any of the zeitgeist moments to hit home.

Strong formalism, though.

DarkeningHumour

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2018, 12:12:36 PM »
There is absolutely no way Hawke's immediate reaction to hugging Seyfried is not to jump away in agony from all the barbed wire he is wearing, let alone embrace her for however long that scene lasts. That makes me thing there may be something to Junior's theory.

(But don't tell him I said that.)
Society is dumb. Art is everything. - Junior

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Junior

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Re: First Reformed
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2018, 04:06:44 PM »
I won't.
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