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  1. Published on: 17/08/2018 12:23 PMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: A priest with a troubled past beliefs are tested after the suicide of one of his clients.

    The first I heard about this film was from the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals last year.

    What intrigued me to see this was the trailer, Ethan Hawke as his selection of films is pretty solid and he rarely misses and the reviews were pretty strong.

    The director of this Paul Schrader, is also the writer from Taxi Driver. I sadly haven't seen any other film that Schrader has directed or written outside of Taxi Driver. But after seeing this, I would certainly keep and eye out for any of his back catalogue. You can see the Taxi Driver similarities throughout. You won't be surprised if you heard this afterwards as the tone, story structure and themes are very similar.

    While I don't think this will end up being as much of a classic as Taxi Driver, it's still certainly checking out and experiencing.

    The pacing is of a slow-burner. But once you see the dark path this story is taking, then the pacing is spot on as the tension slowly builds up. Beforehand, while the story still moves along, the pacing is frustrating at times. Thankfully, I only felt that in the first half.

    But it is the second half where this film shines and the very end will certainly spark discussions as its certainly open to interpretation.

    Hawke is the big draw and carries this film so well. It's a strong performance and his transformation throughout the film was gripping to watch. This could well be a career best for Hawke.

    It was nice to see Amanda Seyfried show some variety in her performance as she certainly out of her comfort zone. She fitted into the role really well.

    It was also great to see Cedric The Entertainer take a non-comedic role and he did a pretty good job with the few scenes he had.

    What I liked about it the most was the use of the theme of belief, as it goes down some challenging and dark routes and will certainly have people having different interpretations. It also covers some interesting topics such as over-population and similar worldly concerns we are having right now.

    As mentioned before, I think what is preventing me from giving a great score is the pacing. It is a slow burner, and at times it takes a while to get to the next part. But while it is only a minor drawback, I'm still giving it a pretty good score.

    This film will surprise you with how it ends up despite how its being marketed, Hawke's performance is worth investing in and it have one of the strongest final acts out of any film this year.

    Rating: 7/10
     

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