Ethan Hawke Is a Conflicted Pastor in First Trailer for Paul Schrader’s ‘First Reformed’
Yesterday, A24 teased the incoming arrival of the first trailer for Paul Schrader’s latest, First Reformed, describing the film as “the unholy love child of A Ghost Story and Taxi Driver.” If that’s not enough to push this dramatic religious thriller to the top of your most anticipated list, then friend, I have nothing further to add.
Actually, I do. First Reformed stars Ethan Hawke as a troubled pastor called to aid a pregnant woman, and it looks like the complex, meaty role we’ve been waiting for Hawke to dig his teeth into for sometime now. Hawke’s Reverend Ernst Toller is an ex-military chaplain struggling with the loss of his son and his church’s diminishing congregation. Then things take a dark turn when Amanda Seyfried, the wife of an extreme environmentalist, calls on Toller for help. Cedric the Entertainer is Toller’s pastor friend, because even pastors need pastors. Here’s the full synopsis:
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. From writer-director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver; American Gigolo; Affliction) comes a gripping thriller about a crisis of faith that is at once personal, political, and planetary.
The latest from the Taxi Driver and Raging Bull screenwriter, who’s also behind the camera this time, made its rounds on the festival circuit last fall and was massively praised by critics. Based on the trailer alone, it definitely has some of the weighty existentialism of David Lowery’s A Ghost Story along with some transfixing visuals. This is definitely one to keep on your radar. First Reformed hits theaters May 18.