Paul Schrader on Brian De Palma: 'Brian Is Trite, Brian Is Artistically Weak'

Who knew New Hollywood had beef?

paul schrader

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paul schrader

Pop star feuds are a dime a dozen and we expect rappers to take the occasional potshot. Give us that primo, New American auteur beef any day of the week. Paul Schrader, director of the ecological-terrorism-as-crisis-of-faith film First Reformed, came for Brian De Palma's neck in a since-deleted post to Facebook.

He accused the director of being a hack who fools people into thinking he's competent by moving too quickly for anyone to realize that he has nothing to say.

“Don’t get me started on Brian De Palma," he wrote. "I re-watched Redacted last night because [I] thought that given total artistic freedom he could reach for the stars. And he did. But the stars were beyond his reach. The script is trite, it is weak. That’s because Brian is trite, Brian is artistically weak. Skate fast on thin ice. That’s his story. That’s his con.”

De Palma deleted the post shortly thereafter, saying that one of the things he liked about Facebook as a platform was the ability to quickly start a conversation and then end it. 

“I made some critical comments on some films and after a day deleted them,” Schrader wrote. “I wanted to express some things, hear some reactions, but after that took the conversation off the table. I like that about Facebook. You can start a conversation. You can also end it.”

De Palma came up in the New Hollywood wave, making stylish about spies, gangsters, and other antiheroes. His best-known films are Carrie, Scarface, The Untouchables, and the original outing of Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible franchise. Since the '90s however, De Palma has been in a very obvious fallow period.

Schrader came up in the same generation of filmmakers, writing screenplays for Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. However, his directorial work was never regarded as highly as De Palma's until he recently hit with First Reformed.

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