The Handmaid’s Tale: The Delusionary Hysterical Fear of Christian Theocracy

Hulu series about a dystopian world where infertility has become widespread, threatening the survival of the human race. A Christian theocracy has taken over and has enslaved the few fertile women as concubines for birthing children to the leaders—and to oppress women everywhere, because, well, that’s what Christianity is all about, don’t you know. Or something.

This won an Emmy for Drama Series. So I tried to watch it. I couldn’t get very far. It was an unending parade of Christophobic stereotypes, cliches and demonizations of Christianity. A litany of the fevered delusions and projections of left wing paranoia. But even worse: It was just bad storytelling.

It’s clear why this series is getting critical accolades. Not because it’s good. It’s terrible. But because it reflects the collective intolerance and bigotry of the Hollywood elite.

The storytelling here was more preachy, more juvenile in it’s exaggeration, more ridiculously melodramatic than any Christian movie I have ever seen. And if you know me, you know I do not like preachy Christian movies.

It was like watching a sincere yet laughable horror movie from the 1950s with every shot a “scary” melodramatic exaggeration of ugly lighting, ominous music, dour acting and extreme dialogue. And more ominously ominous music. Dr. Evil has nothing on this.

The Christian leaders in this story are of course fascists with Nazi-like traits, rituals and decorations. Their barren wives are begrudging enablers of the evil patriarchy who abuse the handmaidens out of their resentment, thus damning Christian women as traitors to their gender.

The heroine is a newly enslaved handmaiden who is taught that pollution caused the worldwide infertility, which is God’s punishment. In the first episode we see that the Christians execute Catholic priests, abortionists and gays. So, it is Evangelical Christianity who is the real villain here.

Or at least Atwood’s bizarre twisted misinterpretation of what Evangelical Christianity is. Continue reading

Interview with Cyrus Nowrasteh: Saved While Making the Movie The Young Messiah

YoungMessiahPoster

Okay, it wasn’t like a Damascus Road Zap, more of a culmination of a long journey ending in this movie.

I got to interview Cyrus Nowrasteh about the upcoming movie, The Young Messiah, that opens March 11. You HAVE to see this movie. It’s a thoughtful and dramatic exploration of Jesus and his human coming of age as the Son of God.

You can read my review of the movie here.
It opens next Friday, March 11.

Here is the interview…

Brian: Tell me about the Genesis of this project and its journey to the screen.

Cyrus: I remember having dinner in 2005 with my agent at CAA. He talked about his client Anne Rice coming out with a book called Christ the Lord, that is going to blow everyone’s mind, because at the time, she became born again, or whatever you want to call it. I thought it was a fresh and original take on Jesus, focusing on him entirely as a seven-year old child.

If you told me then, about 10 years ago, that I’d be making a movie from that book, I’d have told you you were on crack. For a slew of reasons. But [my movie] Stoning of Soraya M. came out in 2009. Anne Rice wrote a rave review of it. So I called the same agent. She thought I’d be perfect for it. I read it and fell in love with it. I contacted Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures. I worked with them in the past. They optioned the book, and developed the script with me attached to direct.

B: So it took over 10 years to get made. And that’s just the beginning of the miraculous things that would happen. What were the reasons that made you hesitate from making the movie at first?

C: First of all, she’s very prominent. She’s been writing best-sellers for over 40 years. She’s had movies made from her books. And her books are very expensive to acquire and get made. That was one reason. The other was what it was about. I had been on my own journey towards Christ for a long time, probably longer than I even know. But I certainly didn’t think I was prepared to tackle a project about Jesus, much less a very risky and challenging one, taking on a portion of his life that is considered the silent years. I knew that would be controversial.

Cyrus_Nowrasteh

Writer-Director Cyrus Nowrasteh

B: What unique issues did you face in adapting this book to a film?

C: She did a very challenging thing in the book. It was pretty gutsy. The entire book is written in the first person voice of Jesus. That was challenge number one. The other challenges were theological. Anne grew up Catholic. I didn’t know it at the time, that she used a lot of other sources. Some of them are apocryphal, and some of them are legends that come down about the childhood of Jesus in the vicinity of Alexandria going back 2000 years. The Coptic Christians still tell these stories about Jesus. She used everything and anything that she could find. And we felt, Betsy (wife and co-writer) and myself, that if we were going to write it, that we were going to have to reexamine those issues. We are not theologians or scholars. It was through multiple drafts, having friends and associates, theologians, people who we trusted, who came back with feedback. It took time for us to figure out how we could navigate those issues and still tell the story in a dramatic and compelling fashion.

[BG DISCLOSURE: I was one of those who read the script early on. To be honest, I knew Christians would not like it at that point in its development, because of some of the material they included. But as you read on, you’ll see how he and his wife co-writer changed it because of their spiritual journey. Good news! this movie is now totally Biblically consistent, even though it obviously takes creative license. I loved it.]  Read on to see what happened… Continue reading

Risen: An Unpredictable Hollywood Detective Thriller – and a Christian Apologist’s Dream Come True

Logline

A detective thriller about a Roman Tribune charged with the task of finding the body of Jesus Christ in order to stop an uprising after he is declared risen from the dead.

Not Your Father’s “Christian Movie”

Most “Christian movies,” especially ones about Jesus or the New Testament are cheap looking, cheesy, and quite honestly, tired and redundant.

I don’t even care to see them, and I’m a Christian.

Risen is NOT one of them.

It is NOT a “Christian movie,” filled with mediocre or bad performances of poor preachy writing and directing.

The Hero of the story is an unbeliever. But this is NOT the fake, stilted Kendrick brother’s version of an unbeliever.

Sorry for all those, “NOTs.” It’s just that there is so much baggage with the genre of Christian movies and Bible movies like this, that you have to realize just how different this movie really is.

Oh, and one more NOT. It is NOT another abominable subversion of the Biblical narrative and God like Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Now for what Risen IS.

Risen is an honest and truthful portrayal of a skeptical mind approaching the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And it is a fantastic story. It is an authentic fresh take on the Gospel from the unique perspective of an unbeliever.

Great writing, unpredictable story, strong acting, truthful and honest portrayal. Riveting drama.

To be honest, Risen is a Christian apologist’s dream come true. It is a narrative that dramatically and existentially incarnates the historical issues surrounding the resurrection of Christ in a much better way for today’s world than the logocentric “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” ever could (That’s not a knock on McDowell. It was good in its day). Of course, using the word “apologetics” in relation to a movie is dangerous, because of all the prejudice in the public against such an agenda. But so what. Atheists and other close-minded Bible haters and Christian bashers will still hate it, no matter how good the movie actually is.

And it is very good. Here’s why: Continue reading

OSCAR WATCH • Room: The Most Powerful Pro-Life Movie Since the Planned Parenthood Exposé

Room_Movie_Poster

The story of a young girl imprisoned in a small room by her abductor, who escapes with the help of her five year old son, born in that captivity, and what happens after.

This is an emotionally brutal story to watch. It’s not that it’s a horror film, it’s not a thriller or even explicit. It’s because it is so revelatory of human nature in both its evil and its grandeur. It’s more about the power of imagination to overcome the psychological effects of such abuse. And as recent current news events have shown, this kind of thing is quite real.

Whereas most thrillers would end with the girl escaping, this movie’s second half is about the difficulty of both mother and son to overcome the trauma that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. It deals with the aftermath and damage that man’s inhumanity to man wreaks upon victim’s lives as well as their families.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie is quite understated in its realism. We see the strength of this young woman in dealing with her and her son’s issues in the best way she knows how, with her limited yet loving resources. It wrestles with the existential questions: How would a young child born in captivity cope with the smallness of their existence? And how would they see the huge vast world, once released? How frightening would it be to try to enter? And yet, how it is loved ones and friends who help us to fit into that very world. We need each other.

A Case Study in Pro-Life Narrative

There is a big picture going on here. I don’t believe it is without reason that young woman is never named in the film beyond her son’s “Ma.” So in a way she is an archetype for something bigger.  (Brie Larson’s acting in the role is transcendental)

Let me explain… Continue reading

OSCAR WATCH • Bridge of Spies: A Conspiracy of Boredom

Bridge of Lies

Espionage legal yawner, I mean thriller. A common lawyer practicing insurance law is chosen by the U.S. government to defend a Communist spy during the Cold War. Then he is becomes the negotiator to trade that spy for the American pilot shot down in the U2 plane, Gary Powers.

I tried to watch this film. I really tried. I got half way through and just stopped out of sheer boredom. I think Spielberg must have been trying to make an old 1950s spy movie, complete with long boring shots of people walking to meetings and away from meetings, long drawn out scenes of talkie talking, and negotiations that are supposed to be interesting but aren’t. How they used to edit back in the 50s. It was 30 minutes too loooooong.

An Oscar nomination for best picture? What were they thinking?

And then I realized why it was. Modern Hollywood has a love affair with depicting Communist artists as victims, so they LOVE to award that sycophancy.

You can see Spielberg building a case for “due process” by trying to show that even Communist spies deserve a defense. Fair enough. But it’s always Communists. Let’s protect Communists, they’re really just a Boogeyman of the Right, anyway, right? I can’t wait to see a movie where they defend the right of Christian bakers and wedding photographers to due process. Oh, wait, that’s the real danger in America, Christian do gooders, not murderous Communists and Islamists. THEY don’t deserve due process.

I won’t be holding my breath for THAT movie.

And then he depicts all the Americans as wanting to skirt law because of their hard heartedness toward that poor little old Communist man who likes to paint pictures. He’s so sweet and gentle. Oh, he’s an artist too! The persecuted artists in the dark underbelly of 1950s America! While the heroic Everyman, named Donovan, played by heroic Everyman actor Tom Hanks (Although I can’t say I see him that way anymore) blunders his way through a world of “American Red Scare paranoia.” His neighbors become paranoid of him for defending a Commie. His son comes home paranoid, preparing for an atomic blast at home. All the terrible Paranoia! This is supposed to appear to be absurd to our modern eyes since we know it never happened. But the real truth is that it WAS a possibility and within their context, it was not outrageous or paranoid. The fact that it didn’t happen does NOT mean it could never have happened. It was a real possibility.

Communist denial in Hollywood is pandemic. I don’t think I have the stomach to watch Trumbo and the hero they will no doubt make out of that Communist traitor to America. Because after all, he was a poor little old Communist Artist.

This is just more of the moral equivalency of Spielberg that we got with Munich, where the Israelis were portrayed as morally equivalent terrorists for exacting justice on Palestinian terrorists.

But I sat back down and suffered through the rest of Bridge of Spies, because of my patriotic duty.

And though it was still boring, there were a few qualifying elements that countered the moral equivalency of the story. I must be fair, since I’m not a Hollywood Communist artist. First, there is an eerie moment near the end where Hanks is riding a train in East Berlin (The Communist side). He sees a group of people running to the Berlin Wall and trying to climb over to the West Side to freedom. He sees them all get shot by East Berlin guards. Then at the very end, when Donovan is home in America, he’s riding a train again. This time he sees a bunch of kids running to a fence and climbing it in their backyard. A brilliant counter image of freedom versus the captivity of Communism. So there IS a difference between the two worlds. They are not ultimately equivalent. I wonder if that was the Coen Brothers’ writing leaking through.

On the other hand, the U.S. government is portrayed as not caring about its own citizens. Donovan uncovers the opportunity to add another hostage to the negotiations, a stupid American student studying Marxist economics in Berlin. The US government guy handling the deal tells Donovan about 20 times that they don’t care about the student, just the pilot, forget the student, we don’t want him, leave him there, it’s his problem, we don’t care about American citizens, only our pilot, forget about him (we get the point, Steven). The irony is that the government guy was right. An American soldier POW is NOT the equivalent representative of the United States as a stupid American who deliberately hides out in enemy territory during war. Sorry, they ain’t the same.

On the other hand, the treatment of the American prisoner Gary Powers in Cuba was not portrayed as equivalent to the treatment of the Russian spy in America. Spielberg did show Powers being manhandled for information (child’s play compared to today), while the Russian was questioned humanely in America.

Okay, so I’ll grant it’s a somewhat nuanced moral equivalency.

And there is the fact that Donovan went on to negotiate the release of 9000 captives from Castro’s Cuba. So it was amazing that this average American guy got caught up in changing the world for the better.

Spielberg has made a legacy of brilliant storytelling by focusing on the ordinary common man who becomes a hero, and this is no exception. I can’t fault him for that.

But I can fault him for boredom.

If you want to see the reality of Communist spies in America during the Cold War, I highly recommend watching the Series, The Americans. It’s fantastic. it’s truthful.

And it’s not boring, I promise.

DragonKing6

Oscar Watch • The Hateful Eight: A Love Affair with Hate, Racism and Misogyny?

hateful

Western Mystery Thriller. In the post Civil War period, an infamous bounty hunter, bringing a female criminal to a town for hanging, stays at an outpost during a storm. While there, he encounters a group of dubious characters who will complicate his quest.

Watching a Tarantino movie is watching a 90 minute film stretched out to almost 3 insufferable hours of long rambling scenes with trivial dialogue that should have been cut in half. It was a clever trick in the long table scene of Reservoir Dogs, but now it seems like its every scene in every movie of his.

Along with gratuitous racism, excessive and irrelevant profanity (His romance with the N-word continues with this film), and an erotic fetish for violence.

I watch this crap, so you don’t have to.

Now, keep in mind, I am not against the accurate depiction of evil in a story. I do it myself, and some of my favorite movies do as well. It’s all in the context. And one gets the impression watching this guy’s movies that his “signature” or voice is that of a video store clerk’s obsession with shock because it’s the only thing that interests his numbed conscience from watching too many movies.

Tarantino tries to mimic the spaghetti westerns of the 60s and early 70s, complete with Cinerama widescreen and 1960s western titles and music. The movie starts with an excruciatingly indulgent “Overture” of music over a flat graphic — like they had for epics in the olden days. The movie is an homage that illustrates his own nostalgia for old movies more than an actual creative take on the subject. The whole nostalgia thing worked once in Pulp Fiction. The metaphor that I think best describes this director is that of a young dinosaur that is unaware of the concept of extinction.

The first shot is a long, meandering dolly out of a stone crucifix of a suffering Christ, apparently a gravestone, covered in the blistery snow of dead winter. Yes, foreshadowing the violence to come (as all Tarantino movies end in an orgy of violence), but could it also be a visual cue of the “death of God” in the story he is about to tell, or rather in his own worldview?

The rest of the movie watches like a play that has been adapted to the screen. The bounty hunter, (Kurt Russell) brings along a captured female outlaw (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who the director enjoys getting laughs out of beating up and calling “bitch.” It seems the only word Tarantino loves as much as the N-word is the B-word. Back to the story. So these two end up at the outpost lodge with another bounty hunter (Samuel L. Jackson) and the new sheriff of the destination town. There are several other dubious lodgers already there. As they wait for the snow storm to subside, some subterfuge occurs and the whole thing is a mystery to figure out if any of the other lodgers are hostile and waiting for their moment to free the female prisoner.

There is really nothing special here. Just a murder mystery play, with a few good twists, good performances by the actors (I will always watch any movie with Kurt Russell in it). But certainly nothing worthy of Oscar nominations.

Before the inevitable Tarantino bloodbath ending, there is one good moment of insight. Tim Roth plays the hangman of the town who is also on his way to the same destination. He has a discussion with one of the other characters about justice. He explains that the rule of law is what civilized society calls justice. While lynching or vigilanteism is frontier justice, which is just as apt to be wrong as right. He then says that the only real difference between the two is the hangman, because dispassion is the essence of justice. Justice delivered with passion is always in danger of not being justice. So for a moment, it appears that Tarantino may actually be supporting the rule of law as the means of civilized justice.

Which is really an odd thing, considering his own recent real life involvement with racist anti-cop protestors in New York. A few days after a NY cop is murdered, he pronounced cops as murderers who engage in alleged institutional “police terror.” Of course, he would argue that he is standing against corrupt authority, not good cops, but the problem is that the whole racist police narrative is itself a corrupt racist conspiracy theory, whose purpose is to incite racial hatred and uncivilized rage that results in lawlessness, mob violence and inspires more cop killers. Hey, what happened to that rule of law?

But when you consider the character who says those lines about dispassionate justice in the movie, along with Tarantino’s own passionate hate speech, maybe he’s really spitting on the whole concept of dispassionate rule of law in favor of his passionate hate. Maybe he really believes in the frontier lawlessness he so often celebrates in his movies like a religion of violence.

Oscar Watch • The Revenant: Vengeance is God’s, and God Ain’t No Pacifist

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Though we don’t have the Oscar nominations yet, I labeled this as one of my 2015 Oscar Watch commentaries because after seeing it, I am confident of two things: 1. The Revenant will receive an Oscar nomination for best picture and best director, and 2. Leonardo DiCaprio will win best actor for his gut wrenching performance as the frontiersman Hugh Glass.

Alejandro Inarritu directed this vast, weighty, sprawling epic that tells the story as much through visual and visceral filmmaking as through its dramatic exploration of the primal urge for revenge. Yes, it is brutal, but it is also beautiful. And I don’t mean “beautiful brutality” as in a Tarantino film. I mean the fearful symmetry of life that is the fallen splendor of creation.

Inarritu interweaves words, visual, audio and emotional drama into a masterpiece of storytelling tapestry. This is the kind of movie that shows you the real fullness of what film can do that other media cannot. Something I have not seen in a while. As you watch the brutality of winter trappers fighting with local American native tribes over pelts, you sense, you feel the power of man against the elements and man against man, that these early Americans had to overcome. The bear attack is at once truly terrifying and yet profound in its incarnation of man vs. nature.

In the world of filmmaking, you have the “arthouse” movies that are so obsessed with being “creative,” that they result in boring pretentiousness. And you have the “Hollywood machine” movies that seek to be a drug fix of action adrenaline that can be empty and shallow. Inarritu manages to transcend both and bring it all. Action, beauty, art, human depth and story. He did it with the Oscar winner Birdman last year, an existentialist exploration of our search for significance, and this year, he just might do it again with The Revenant.

The reason I am so impressed with Inarritu is because he is like Terrence Malick with a good story. Although I don’t often agree with his worldview, I do appreciate his filmmaking as a unique and creative voice in cinema (See my commentaries on his thoughtful films 21 Grams, and Birdman).

In The Revenant, he wrestles with the universal moral dilemma of revenge vs. justice. Bad revenge movies celebrate vigilanteism – or retribution outside the law (see my reviews of on The Punisher, Walking Tall, Sin City, A Time To Kill) Good revenge movies sympathize with the universal human desire for justice against criminals, especially murderers, but also deal honestly with the spiritual reality that revenge destroys the soul of the vigilante. (see my commentaries for Man on Fire, The Equalizer).

The Christian worldview proposes that God achieves justice, or in other words, his vengeance against criminals, legally through the state, not through personal vengeance outside of the law (Romans 12:19-13:5). Capital criminals deserve to die, but by the hand of the state and within the law. Of course, self defense is also a legitimate means for righteous violence (Exodus 22:2-3). But the main point is that certain evil men deserve to die, but if you do not achieve that justice through legal moral means, it will destroy you, and turn you into the very monster you seek to punish.

The Revenant brings in this spiritual dimension into the discussion in a way that other revenge movies sometimes miss. Hugh Glass is a man between worlds, a white man with a child from his marriage to a Pawnee woman, now dead. Don’t worry, no spoiling yet. This cinematic world has a fairly good balance of viewpoints within it. Yes, the Indians think the white man stole their land and their animals, but they also steal land and animals from each other, as well as from the white man, and the Indians kill each other as well. So there is no pristine “noble savage” nor thoroughly evil European here. All flawed, all human, too human.

At one point in the film, Hugh meets a Pawnee Indian whose family was wiped out by the Sioux. Hugh cannot understand why he is seeking to find more of his people to settle with rather than seeking revenge on the offending warriors. The Pawnee tells him, “Revenge is in the Creator’s hands.” This becomes a thematic challenge to Hugh’s own personal journey of revenge. And the moral issue that is addressed with thoughtful poignancy through the movie.

The villain, John Fitzgerald, played masterfully simple and real by Tom Hardy is an atheist, and fellow trapper who is guilty of atrocities. At one point, he tells a story about a fellow who found God. That fellow looked up in the air, and then climbed a tree, and found God. And God was a squirrel. So he “shot and ate the son of a bitch.” This is a brilliant encapsulation of the mockery of the atheist worldview and it is villainous pretentions.

Keep reading to find out how the ending embodies the moral theme of the movie… Continue reading

Christ’s Descent into Hell (Part 1)

One of the most difficult and strange passages in the New Testament is 1 Peter 3:18-22. It’s oddity approaches that of Genesis 6:1-4 that speaks of the Sons of God mating with the daughters of men in the days of Noah and breeding Nephilim giants that lead to the judgment of the Flood.

Perhaps its oddity is tied to the fact that it is most likely connected directly to Genesis 6 and therefore of particular importance for the Biblical Cosmic War of the Seed.This 1 Peter 3 passage is notorious for its difficult obscurity and lack of consensus among scholarly interpretation. Views are divided over it with a variety of speculative interpretations to pick from. So, let’s take a look at it more closely with an attempt to clarify its meaning.

 1 Peter 3:18–22
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

The context of this letter is the suffering of believers for their faith under the persecution of the Roman empire (3:13-17). Peter is encouraging them to persevere in doing good despite the evil done against them because they will be a witness to the watching world just as Christ was in his suffering. He then launches into this section as an analogy of what Christ did for us in his journey of suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension.The questions begin to pile up:
When did Christ go on this journey? (v. 18)
Who are the spirits? (v. 19)
Where did he go to proclaim to the spirits? (v. 19)
What did he proclaim? (v. 19)
Where is this prison that they are in? (v. 19)

I believe the answers to these questions are very much in line with the storyline of the War of the Seed. I will try to answer the first three in this post and tackle the last two in the next one.

When Did Christ Go on His Journey?

When Christ “went” to proclaim to the spirits in prison, it says he was “put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went…” In the original Greek, “he went” does not contain a notion of direction as in ascent to heaven or descent to hell. It can only be determined by the context.[1] So let’s look at that context.Some scholars interpret this being “made alive in the spirit” as a reference to the physical resurrection of Christ from the dead, repeated later in v. 21. As Bible commentator Ramsey Michaels says, “the distinction here indicated by “flesh” and “Spirit” is not between the material and immaterial parts of Christ’s person (i.e., his “body” and “soul”), but rather between his earthly existence and his risen state.”[2]

Scholar William Dalton argues that the idea of being made alive in the spirit was a New Testament reference to the resurrection of Christ’s physical body by the power of the Holy Spirit, not a reference to Christ’s disembodied soul.[3] He writes, “General New Testament anthropology insists on the unity of the human person. Terms such as “flesh” and “spirit” are aspects of human existence, not parts of a human compound. Bodily resurrection is stressed, not the immortality of the soul.”[4]This venerable interpretation sees Christ proclaiming to the spirits as a resurrected body, sometime before he ascended.

Another scholarly interpretation is that Christ’s journey of proclamation occurred in a disembodied state between his death and resurrection. While his body was dead for three days, his spirit was alive and in Sheol. This understands the flesh/spirit distinction as a conjunction of opposites. “Put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” is not talking about the fleshly death and fleshly resurrection, but a fleshly death and a spiritual life. The “spirit” in which he was made alive in this view is not the Holy Spirit, but rather his disembodied soul in the spiritual realm. That “spirit” then corresponds to the “spirits” to whom he proclaimed in the very next verse (v. 19).

This view that Christ’s soul or spirit went down into the underworld of Sheol between his death and resurrection is the most ancient and most traditional view, as attested in the Apostle’s Creed.[5] The Greek for “made alive” is never used of Christ’s physical resurrection in the New Testament, but it is used of the spiritual reality of the believer “being made alive” in Christ (Eph. 2:5-6).[6]Christ suffered the spiritual death of separation from the Father when he died on the cross (Isa. 53:4-6; 1 Pet. 2:24; Matt. 27:46). How the second person of the Trinity can experience separation from the Father remains a Biblical mystery. But in this interpretation, it is Christ’s disembodied spirit that makes the journey to proclaim to the spirits, not his resurrected body.

But whether Christ proclaims in his resurrected body or in his immaterial spirit, the next question arises, who are the spirits to which he proclaims and where are they?

This will be fascinating to you… Continue reading

Antiviral, the Movie: The Horror of Celebrity Worship.

Antiviral

On Netflix Streaming. Sci-fi horror about the near future, when drug companies create a new way for fans to get even more intimate with their celebrities: injections of viruses directly from sick celebrities into their obsessive fans.

The story follows Syd March, who works for the Lucas Clinic, that creates cultures of pathogens directly from the blood cells of sick celebrities, and sells them to fans who seek to have the very cells of celebrities fuse and mutate with their own in a twisted form of identification. Lucas Clinic custom designs the molecular structures of the sicknesses so they are not contagious and therefore not transferable. They want to maintain their patent and profits after all. It’s positively diabolical and absurd in its notion, yet, not far from the truth of the spiritual sickness of our culture of celebrity worship. Indeed, watching this film, I actually think it is quite prescient of where we are going as a culture.

One more gruesome corollary of this dystopian future is that celebrities also sell their normal body cells to be clone-cultured and grown into slabs of meat, that are also sold and eaten by the adoring public. It’s quite literally a science-justified form of cannibalism, since the cultures are not persons, but just meat made from their cells. Of course, its all done in a very clean and white environment, so the hideousness is hidden behind the veneer of “safe science.”

Syd engages in some blackmarket moonlighting by injecting himself with pathogens that enable him to remove the copy protection on the virus, that he then sells to his shady contact. But when Syd injects himself with a deadly pathogen of famous celebrity Hannah Geist, he now must try to save his own life before he follows the young woman to the grave.

Coming from the son of David Cronenberg, one must be aware there will be some influence of dad on this filmmaker. Thus, it is all a bit bloody and physically repulsive at times, artsy and opaque at others. But the directing and acting is excellent, and the beautiful cinematography lent a powerful irony to the eerie darkness beneath the surface. I found it a quite truthful picture of the nature of celebrity worship and how it is a form of idolatry that leads to bizarre self-inflicted degradation on the part of the populace, as well as the willingness on the part of celebrities who are virtual and willing house slaves to those who “cannibalize” them.

This movie was weird, but it really had a profound spiritual truthfulness to it that remains an echo in my memory, long after I’ve forgotten whatever big stupid movie I’ve seen in the theaters this week has dissolved.