First Reformed

First Reformed ★★★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Alright, alright. I've waited far too long to write something for this. Here we go.

I was shocked at how prevalent the aspect of climate change was in this film. Clearly I knew nothing of the film going into it, because when it became such a calling point I imagined my college days when I took an entire course dedicated to being convinced that climate change was real. I think my professor would seriously appreciate this film, if only to give him a stroke upon the direction of his political beliefs.

This is a very methodical film, which feels akin to a snake coiling ever tighter around the unsuspecting victim of its next meal. It doesn't bite, only coils until the prey eventually becomes aware that the tightness around them has become impenetrable, such that they can only wait until it eventually suffocates them. Very dark, very pale, and very mild. Typically the recipe for a film that film connoisseurs adore and normies despise.

I liked it quite a bit. Not so much at first, as is typically so with these types of slow-to-fold narratives. It isn't until everything is brought to the surface that I can properly appreciate its manner of presentation and the subtle symbolism present through the characters, their actions, and the imagery presented through the camera. It's a film that gets better as it goes along, whereas the coil of the snake brings a certain sense of protection from its unflinching, focused progression of constriction.

Everyone in "the know" thinks Ethan Hawke should have been nominated for Best Actor for his performance in this. I... eh... kind of agree. He certainly did a good job, though I'm not sure if he single-handedly boosted the film with his performance. I thought the overall fashion of the film made it what it was, and perhaps Hawke's performance got lost in the symbolic chaos that went along onscreen.

It was very good. I think this should be nominated for Best Picture. God knows it's better than everything else that was nominated... in fact, yeah, I did like this more than every other nominee, so it does feel somewhat disheartening.