Friday, August 26, 2022

Brimstone: a religious thriller


Greetings, commies!

In a mood for a light summer flick? Not a chance! I don't watch or review those. Brimstone is an excellent choice guaranteed to give you nightmares. It's billed as a "A gritty revenge western, about a young woman in a frontier community who must go on the run when she is targeted by a diabolical preacher."

Not every film set in the West qualifies as a "western", and not every plot that contains elements of revenge automatically becomes a "revenge" piece. "Brimstone" is more of a multi-layered religious thriller. It helps to have some understanding of the Scripture to appreciate the structure of the film, all the theological references. If you are a totally secular viewer without any interest in the Bible, you will view this film as yet another attempt to make Christians look bad. If you already have an aversion to organized religion, this movie will not change your position, certainly. But this film is so much more than just another criticism of the hardcore evangelical movement in the US. The cinematography is stunning, horrifying and stern. The plot is blood-chilling. The antagonist is so repulsive, that you forget that he is a minister. You don't focus on his position in society. That kind of fades into the background. One thing that put me off is the idealized depiction of less than ideal women. Of course, they are depicted as agents of compassion and solidarity in this harsh, male-dominated world. I wish there had been more ambivalent female characters, capable of backstabbing and manipulation and cruelty. These acts should not be reserved to men alone. 

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