Written and directed by Paul Schrader, ‘First Reformed’ is a tour de force that will move you and will leave you with more questions than answers.
Starring Ethan Hawke (‘Training Day’ and ‘The Purge’), Amanda Seyfried (‘Les Miserables’, ‘Mean Girls’) and Cedric Kyles (‘Larry Crowne’), this stellar cast delivers. Hawke plays Reverend Ernst Toller, a parish priest battling with hopelessness and loss. He is not your average go-to fun guy. No-one can match Hawke for on-screen presence and delivery. In this film, he gives a weighty performance that demands you watch him. Oh, and no-one can drink whisky on screen better than Ethan Hawke. That’s a fact.
Rev. Toller (Hawke) gets a call from Amanda Seyfried, asking him to counsel her radical environmentalist husband, played by Kyles. What unfurls is dark, dramatic and compelling. It’s the type of film that only allows you to breathe as the credits roll.
Schrader is royalty when it comes to directing. The man is responsible for some of the greatest movies EVER. ‘Raging Bull’, ‘Taxi Driver’, and ‘American Gigolo’ are films so good that they entitle Schrader to take it easy and never make another movie again. Not Paul Schrader, not one bit. He blasts them to the back of the line with ‘First Reformed’, and in doing, gives Ethan Hawke and the rest of the cast a vehicle to show their skills to the max.
‘First Reformed’ will be released in cinemas on July 13th but had its UK premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in London on June 1st, with an extended introduction by Ethan Hawke.