Jordan Sarf’s review published on Letterboxd:
In all seriousness, this film he’s brushed over by critics and film fanatics. I saw this because it was paired up with Taxi Driver, which I’ve seen before. After the screening, I walked out and for some reason, I liked this over Taxi Driver.
The three B-Level actors present preformed at A-Level. Pryor was his classic self, while adding elements of real life feelings of a working man. Keitel too have the film an organic feel; as if the film was more of a documentary than a narrative. Kotto was a great laid back support character to these two, even though his role is the most mysterious and complex.
The story reveals honest feeling about workers unions in the late 70s. Those in power want to keep it while everyone else has to fend for themselves. The end of the film expresses an arc about manipulation of the workplace and how dividing everyone can cause conflict and difficulty in getting along.
I had the esteemed pleasure of meeting Paul Schrader after the film. I had asked him a question about character development, which he said that defining a character is important to drawing someone into your story. He went on to explain why he casted Ethan Hawke in First Reformed (which was my actual question) and he said the presence an actor or actress has can make or break a part. I couldn’t agree more.
A great watch for a peek of the late 70s and the tension between blue collar workers.