Coming Soon to
Coming Soon to
A country priest (Ethan Hawke) questions his faith after an unnerving encounter with a radical environmentalist in this searing thriller from the writer of Taxi Driver and Raging Bull .Gripping and intensely focused, First Reformed is Paul Schrader’s latest character study of male self-destruction and redemption. Haunted by the ghost of Taxi Driver, it stands as the culmination of a writing/directing career studded with God’s lonely men – and one of Schrader’s most personal films in decades.
A terrific Ethan Hawke cuts a stern, troubled figure as Toller, a Protestant minister of a tiny congregation overshadowed by a nearby populist church. His internal and spiritual despair – rivetingly chronicled in Schrader’s powerful script – begins to seep out into the unforgiving world upon meeting Mary (Amanda Seyfried) and her husband Michael, a distraught environmental activist whose salvation lies in a suicide vest.
As Toller’s dwindling faith and growing political rage points ostensibly towards an explosive final act, Schrader’s artistry, heavily indebted to his cinematic heroes Carl Dreyer and Robert Bresson, beautifully counteracts the violent pathos of his most iconic screen antiheroes. At once austere and electrifying, First Reformed is directed with startling simplicity and profundity; a bravely un-American film by one of the great American filmmakers. — Tim Wong