Paul Schrader is the writer of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and The Last Temptation of Christ. Ethan Hawke is the star of Boyhood and the Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy. A24 is the film distribution company behind Moonlight, Room, and The Florida Project. And together, they, along with actress Amanda Seyfriend (who was in Twin Peaks: The Return, and therefore, belongs among the greats), came together for First Reformed. The Schrader-directed drama, which follows a guilt-ridden priest going through a crisis of faith following the death of his son, premiered at the 2017 Venice International Film Festival to positive reviews (96 percent on Rotten Tomatoes).
Also, this happens.
Here’s the official synopsis.
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 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 (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.
First Reformed opens on May 18.