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Monday, 2 April 2007

God on my Side

Fans of Andrew Denton's pre-Enough Rope comedy work could be forgiven for expecting God on my Side to be a savage comedy take-down of the Religious Right. But Denton's moved one since then, and this restrained effort isn't interested in making fun of the often extreme and sometimes unsettling views held by those visiting the 63rd National Religious Broadcaster's Convention at the Gaylord Convention Centre in Dallas, Texas. Rather, a respectful and subdued Denton comes to them with a genuine interest in finding out what makes these committed Christians tick, and in the process comes away with a lot more insight into what motivates the people who put George Bush into power twice than he would have uncovered by cracking jokes. Denton's visit to the 2006 NRB convention was originally meant for an episode of Enough Rope (only in post-production was it expanded into Denton's first ever feature-length documentary) and it's limited origins show in this 75 minute film's slow start and video-quality footage. But Denton's gentle questioning of Bible salesmen, evangelists, religious sculptors, marketing experts and Mumps the preaching puppet, eventually gets to the heart of the matter: seeing the near-universal condemnation of all other personal choices on the grounds that they're '"not God's way" pure and simple is chilling viewing.

Anthony Morris

(this review appeared in Forte#388)

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