“Even a pastor needs a pastor.” Here’s the inaugural trailer for First Reformed, the thriller from writer-director Paul Schrader that sees Ethan Hawke have a crisis of faith after encouraging his son to join the military and then having to bury him six months later. “I know that nothing can change,” he says, “and I know there is no hope.”
Here’s the logline: Reverend Ernst Toller (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 now is 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 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. Also starring Cedric “The Entertainer” Keys, it’s about a crisis of faith that is at once personal, political, and planetary.
A24 acquired the film after its debut at last year’s Venice Film Festival; it went on the screen at Telluride and Toronto. It opens May 18. Check out the trailer above and poster below and tell us what you think.