Ethan Hawke’s Revenge

A Crisis of Faith in "First Reformed"

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BY: Zak Wojnar

Ethan Hawke is one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood today. He has a well-balanced portfolio of films which includes big-budget action (The Magnificent Seven, Assault on Precinct 13), as well as introspective dramas (Born to be Blue) and hard-boiled police thrillers (Training Day, Brooklyn’s Finest). He’s also starred in just about every Richard Linklater joint under the sun.

Hawke’s latest film, First Reformed, earned rave reviews at the Venice International Film Festival. It’s a gripping thriller about a priest in a major crisis of faith following the death of his son in Iraq. He uncovers a violent conspiracy involving domestic terrorism and suicide bombers, and is forced to act.

The film is written and directed by Paul Schrader, best known for co-writing the scripts for such legendary flicks as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, as well as for writing and directing hits like American Gigolo and Hardcore.

His films tackle difficult subject matter with a gritty realism and borderline psychotic protagonists with whom the audience nonetheless learns to empathize, and First Reformed looks to be a worthy successor to the director’s output. Amanda Seyfried and Cedric the Entertainer co-star in this more adult take on the current “faith-based” genre craze.

First Reformed hits theaters on May 18.