Friday, May 13, 2016

Movie Review: God's Not Dead II or: Cha-ching Amen!

All film, by virtue of its very nature, requires that the audience suspend disbelief and buy-into the world being created.

In order to fully understand the intentions of this made-for-Sunday-TV movie we have to understand the fallacy of the straw-man. This fallacy states that, instead of allowing your opponent to put there case, you put forward an easily refuted argument on your opponent's behalf, and then dance around in triumph when, surprise surprise the straw-man falls.

Don't expect balance, nor deep debate, nor much in the way of evidence. All you're getting is sermonising.

This film is to drama what Michael Moore is to documentary.

The required suspension of disbelief for this movie is so great as to render it as farce in places. We are expected to believe that non-christians hate former and current members of the military, bring civil liberties cases for economic benefit and for future admission to prestigious universities.

Most of all we are expected to believe that christians are a subjugated, persecuted minority, beset on all sides by a hostile power that would poison and destroy Arkansas.

The centre plot of the film is that a high-school history student is asked whether Martin Luther King may have used the bible as part of his belief in non-violent protest, just as Gandhi had done. The question and answer was completely in order: King and Gandhi were religious figures, they were well read in biblical script, and it's a historical fact that King in particular would quote directly from the Bible.

It speaks to the paranoia and the non-understanding of the film makers to believe that any reasonable person could take offence. I'm an atheist myself, and I had no problem with the question and answer.

Which is a pity because the separation of church and state is a real issue, and it's an issue which has grey areas, and a court case-set film to air those issues could be a good film and high art...but 'To Kill a Mockingbird' this ain't.

Where there could be debate--we got proselytising. With the storyline set in stone and the final conclusion of a last minute miracle all the more inevitable, the film lumbers between parallel plots (a Chinese missionary convert, a family recently bereaved and a potentially interesting note on whether the sermons for preachers may be subpoenaed; hint: no, they can't) until the most predictable conclusion since the Egyptian Queen found Moses in the bushes.

As a film this limps along. The technicals are all professional, with a bare minimum of work. The whole movie is filmed in the same light-level and type usually reserved for TV shows. Apparently no shadows in Arkansas?

The stock background movie is at once trite and grating--again taking its lead from Sunday TV--there is slow music for when you are supposed to be happy, low music for when a baddy is on screen and flutes for when a character makes a personal break-through with their lord and saviour...

The acting ranges from Melissa Joan-Hart's single facial expression to Ray Wise's comically dreadful over the top performance as an atheist, god-hatin' christian hatin' prayer hatin' evangelist civil rights lawyer.

Most of all, this 2 hour long film fails, not because of its message and hammy production--it fails because it's just a boring, ironically soul-less piece of film making. In all, not a bomb, definitely manipulative and definitely worth a wide berth.

Final score: 2/10

No comments:

Post a Comment