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What the hell was this?? A Kevin Smith movie??? The person who entertained us and provoked others with hard hitting filthy dialogues about Star Wars and boob sizes? The porn comedy director and perennial dope smoker? This is way strange: The film starts as a raunchy teenager comedy, stays there for some 5 minutes, and then turns into something very different: a religious horror thriller torture-porn movie. Something like that. I was actually a little bit offended when it did, wondering briefly whether every director and author has the right to do every kind of movie, or whether as a director of raunchy comedy, you have to work your way through coming-of-age drama, teenager angst drama, crime thriller, cop thriller and sci-fi comedy first before being eligible for religious horror. Smith did not care, it seems, he obviously is done with what he did and has become a different kind of filmmaking animal. He gives you one twist because he knows that you will wonder what that means, and when it does, you wonder whether this is an ironic diversion, leading back to the raunchy starting point – and you are surprised about the results. And when the trumpets of Jericho go off…

Funny thing is: after getting over being startled, I did like the film. In particular, I did like the main character, a preacher for a fanatic sect of mid-western jerks, acting the life out of this part, preaching for hours without end, and being ruthless beyond limits. Everybody else does play his or her part well, John Goodman is a little bit underused maybe, but take away his fame and his part is perfectly fine (and I am sure he was needed to get the financing for the film done).

Does this mean Kevin Smith tries a different genre with each film from now on? We will see – he certainly is interesting enough of a script writer to make me stay interested.

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