BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD
2007, 117 min, USA, Dir: Sidney Lumet

Director Sidney Lumet returns to the crime genre with a vengeance in this devastating portrait of a family destroyed from within. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke play brothers whose severe financial problems lead them to attempt a jewelry store heist -- a heist that, when it goes wrong, has ruinous consequences for the siblings and everyone who has the misfortune to know them. Lumet's consummate craftsmanship and an air-tight script by Kelly Masterson make this a modern day film noir that invites and earns comparison with classics like DOUBLE INDEMNITY and OUT OF THE PAST. With Marisa Tomei.


FIRST REFORMED
2018, A24, 108 min, USA, Dir: Paul Schrader

Writer-director Paul Schrader’s gripping thriller tackles a crisis of faith that is at once personal, political and planetary. Reverend Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke) is a solitary, middle-aged parish pastor at a small Dutch Reform church in upstate New York on the cusp of celebrating its 250th anniversary. Once a stop on the Underground Railroad, the church is now a tourist attraction catering to a dwindling congregation, eclipsed by its nearby parent church, Abundant Life, with its state-of-the-art facilities and 5,000-strong flock. When a pregnant parishioner (Amanda Seyfried) asks Reverend Toller to counsel her husband, a radical environmentalist, the clergyman finds himself plunged into his own tormented past and equally despairing future, until he finds redemption in an act of grandiose violence.


LIGHT SLEEPER
1992, Lionsgate, 103 min, USA, Dir: Paul Schrader

Willem Dafoe is an alienated drug courier in night-time Manhattan, faced with intimations of his own mortality in this underrated, neo-Bressonian crime film from the author of TAXI DRIVER. Dana Delaney gives a powerful, understated performance as Dafoe's ex-girlfriend fated for a tragic end, while Susan Sarandon shines as his drug-dealer boss experiencing her own painful spiritual growth.


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