Salvation Blvd is one of those films that I would have thought would never receive a home outside of festivals. It’s not that it’s not fun, or that it doesn’t have an entire cast fill of friendly A-list faces — but it’s a film that mocks religion outright and doesn’t really have any reason for doing it. But, once again, I’ve found myself saying “I was wrong” because IFC Films and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA) announced yesterday that that the two companies will be partnering to acquire North American rights to the film. Lets take a look at if they made the right decision…

The Players:

  • Director: George Ratliff
  • Writers: Douglas Stone, George Ratliff, Larry Beinhart
  • Cast:Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Marisa Tomei, Ed Harris,
  • Cinematography By: Tim Orr
  • Original Music By: George S. Clinton

Review:

Hell House and Purgatory County director George Ratliff decided to take on a new kind of horror — Christianity. This religious romp has a lot of great ideas and a fun concept for those who think that the only way to deal with religion is with a laugh, but my biggest problem was no the subject matter, but the story. The film film jammed packed full of interesting ideas that they didn’t necessarily have the right vehicle for. They seemed to have trouble finding ways to tie them all together in to one coherent story or genre. Some of the transitions between one seen to another therefore feel a bit glued together instead of feeling like they all flowed together as one thought. Maybe having three writers was just too much creativeness for a while.

The film is about a charismatic preacher, Pastor Dan (Brosnan) who has managed to trick, captivate, manipulate (you choose) an entire city worth of Christians to join together in one town and praise one man — him… I mean… Jesus. This expert orator takes on a Ex-deadhead and “recovering hippie” (Kinnear) to show others how to be saved, that it until he needs saving himself and then he pitches his lamb to the wolves. “The megachurch is cast into shadow, and a hellish storm begins brewing that could jeopardize its entire existence.”

All of this is good fun, the problem is things begin to spin so out of control and then things become a bit contrived. Though the journey is at times extremely fun, there are a number of moments that fall victim to convenient action film cliches such as someone always being in the right place at the right time for the story to come together and NO one listening to anything logical. Dare I say a simpler story with more ideas may have been better, but not necessarily as fun or easy to follow for mainstream audiences. One with less locations and more problems would have been better. In fact the whole “Mexican kidnapping” section could have been cut out without harming the core of the story.

This is not necessarily a film for those “mainstream” audiences anyway, so why not go even crazier, bolder, even more over the top, with even more hysteria? I guess they needed it to sell — though I wonder if there will be any re-shoots?

That being said, it’s always fun to watch Brosnan play a creep/dirty character and he does a great job of capturing both the charming and slimming part of his character. I’m sure he enjoyed giving his over the top sermon and thinking Satan was calling him on the phone. Kinnear is one of the easiest actors to follow through just about anything, even this crazy romp. Connelly is irritating in all the right ways, Tomei seemed to be having a blast playing a hippy-security guard and we had a blast watching her, and Ed Harris’ part of short but every-sweet.

Overall:

This is one of those films where the idea and concept is better than the film itself. Chances are this is a film that despite it’s impressive cast and fun concept, will piss off half the people and just about omentertain the other half. It’s not a bad film if you’re looking for something light and easy and a little bit out of the norm — it is something relevant to today and therefore worth seeking out if you can.

Rating: 4.5/10

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