Schrader’s most recent film is about Dutch reformed reverend Toller (impressive role from Ethan Hawke) who - tormented by the death of his son - sets about writing a no-holds-barred journal with a lot of whiskey and stomach pains. This reminded film buffs of Bresson's Journal d’un curé de campagne – and also the influences of Dreyer and Bergman are unmistakeable.
However, as Schrader has shown with many scripts and films, he always manages to find contemporary, political and existential urgency in life’s major spiritual issues. When Toller is approached by a pregnant woman (Amanda Seyfried) who is worried by the radicalisation of her environmental activist husband, a beautifully constructed, intense drama unfolds about a lonely soul at a dead end and his desperate attempts to do the right thing in a world full of greed and hypocrisy.
Also see Masterclass: Paul Schrader.