July 26, 2019
Paul Schrader is interested in life, death, humanity, God, and punishment. We theorize how his message has changed over the past 40 years.
When Taxi Driver debuted, it was the talk of the town. It was an angry, vengeful movie about how seedy New York had gotten and how one man intended to clean it up by tuning his body and mind into becoming a killing machine. The film’s writer, Paul Schrader, was raised a Calvinist and didn’t see his first movies until he was a young adult. This sheltered lifestyle meant the only stories Schrader was raised on were biblical, and they would go on to influence all of his work.
Schrader and his world view helped define some of the biggest movies of the 70s and 80s. His writing and directorial style allowed him to become one of the most independent voices within filmmaking.
In 2018, he came back with First Reformed, a powerful movie about another man fed up with the follies of mortals, but this time the message was much more about forgiveness and hope.