Crappy new Christian movie slammed

Crappy new Christian movie slammed

Persecuted is ‘an overwrought mess’ and ‘an act of contemptible irresponsibility’.

THERE’S a very silly cinematic trend developing, and it’s being driven forward by the “persecuted” Christian brigade who imagine that increasingly secular societies in the West are out to get them.

Persecuted, the latest example of this rampant paranoia which hit screens in May, follows that bucket of bilge, God’s Not Dead, and has so far earned a big fat zero rating on Rotten Tomatoes – and some very damning reviews.

Wrote Neil Genzlinger, of the NYT:

The title — Persecuted — and the presence of the Fox News personality Gretchen Carlson in the cast are really all you need to know. This terrible attempt at a political thriller for the religious right is aimed not at Christians in general but at a certain breed of them, the kind who feel as if the rest of the world were engaged in a giant conspiracy against their interpretation of good and truth.

James Remar plays John Luther, a television evangelist who is holding out against a vaguely defined piece of legislation that somehow mandates religious equality, whatever that means. Just why one particular TV preacher is so all-fired important isn’t clear, and neither is anything else about this overwrought mess.

Luther is told by his father, played by Fred Dalton Thompson, the actor and former senator:

Those who believe in nothing must bring you down, must destroy you, to achieve their own goals.

What are those goals? No need to say, because all that this film, written and directed by Daniel Lusko, is really trying to do is push the ‘we are persecuted’  button of its intended audience. In the movie, as in real life, that narrative needs no specifics about who is doing this persecuting or why or how.

Anyway, Luther is framed for a murder with overtones of under-age sex; he vows to clear his name; and the plot degenerates into incomprehensibility.

Variety’s chief film critic Justin Chang wrote:

Four months after God’s Not Dead depicted American academia as a seething hotbed of liberal atheism, along comes Persecuted, a Christian-themed minister-on-the-run thriller bent on exposing the government’s insidious multifaith agenda.

Straw-man cinema doesn’t get much more ludicrous than this foolish and heavy-handed drama about an uncompromising preacher who finds himself the Job-like target of various crooked politicians and corrupt religious leaders, all bent on watering down the gospel for their own wicked gains.

Luther is the founder of Truth, a well-funded, highly influential evangelical ministry that appears to be the lone upholder of Christian values in a dangerously tolerant, increasingly secular age.

Chief among those human serpents trying to tempt Luther into weakening his rigid ideological stance is Senator Donald Harrison (Bruce Davison), who asks him to endorse the Faith and Fairness Act, a vaguely worded religious-reform bill that will not only guarantee equal treatment and recognition for all systems of belief (something already provided for by the Constitution), but also demonstrate that the US ‘is no longer a Christian nation — in fact, it never has been’, in Harrison’s words.

But Luther refuses to cave in to either political pressure or the will of the masses, continuing to preach his own conviction that

Only the Word of God can bring peace.

Chang adds:

There is, to be sure, an intelligent and provocative film to be made about how the language of tolerance can itself propagate a form of intolerance, and also about the very real tension that so many followers of Jesus (this critic included) often feel between their personal beliefs and the values of the postmodern world — a tension that the Bible itself understands and allows for.

But that film would have to be framed as something other than a paranoid thriller, and it would have to translate its discourse into something more sophisticated than the crude, well-worn grammar of the American action movie, with its routine shootouts and fisticuffs. It would also have to accord those characters at odds with its message — atheists and agnostics, prostitutes and politicians — at least a modicum of motivational complexity, if not something approaching the level of compassion that Christ implored His disciples to show their enemies.

At a time when the world offers us no shortage of examples of what actual religious persecution looks like, for a film to indulge in this particular brand of self-righteous fearmongering isn’t just clueless or reckless; it’s an act of contemptible irresponsibility.

But, hey, it’s not all bad for Persecuted. Here’s Movieguide’s take on it:

All in all, MOVIEGUIDE® commends writer and director Daniel Lusko for making such a provocative political thriller from a strong Christian, and somewhat conservative or libertarian, perspective. The positive values expressed are not only Christian and biblical but also American and pro-liberty values. As noted, the movie isn’t too preachy, so Non-Christians, moderates and liberals should be able to enjoy the movie as well.

Want to see what REAL Christian persecution looks like? Just follow this link.

Hat tip: Adam Tjaavk (Iraq report)

18 responses to “Crappy new Christian movie slammed”

  1. Broga says:

    I suppose the religious fuckwits come out of the cinema with a warm glow and a brain dead sense of satisfaction. If it ever appears on TV it might be good for a few laughs. Only the most gullible would pay to see it.

  2. AgentCormac says:

    Somehow, I can’t imagine I’ll be rushing onto Amazon to buy the DVD with extra ‘behind-the-scenes’ interviews.

    And just harping back to an earlier thread, this afternoon I had the misfortune to turn on the radio and hear BBC’s Radio 4 ‘Profile’ programme providing a worrying insight on the UK’s new Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan. Admittedly I only caught the last five minutes or so, but virtually the first thing I heard was that Morgan considers herself to be ‘above all else a christian involved in politics’, or some such bollocks. This woman is seriously dangerous – she was waxing lyrical about how much she is involved with and is guided by parliamentary prayer groups, just how many xtains there are in parliament and how they collude on the decisions they make. Seriously, this woman makes Gove look like an agnostic.

  3. Matt Westwood says:

    On the other hand, he must be really pleased with me in particular, because (a) I no longer have to fly to foreign parts regularly as part of my job, and so therefore I’m not going to get tangled up in Heathrow chaos, and (b) in all the driving around the south of England this last week or so for holiday purposes, I have missed every single pile-up, traffic-jam and road snarl-up that I’ve been hearing about on the traffic news.

    The only conclusion is that God loves atheists.

  4. Robster says:

    Have the Mother & Father of christian movies been having a bonk? They’ve been giving birth to a growing pile of these monstrosities for the last couple of years and suggests to me that god/jesus/mo/spook are failing in their quest to indoctrinate everybody and need Hollywood’s help. If they’re trying to make the nonsense relevant or culturally cool they’re failing. If anything they’re advertising the nonsense of the whole shaky show and turning away everyone with more than two functioning brain cells. They are really on our side.

  5. L.Long says:

    Well I guess the xtians are being picked on. By people with brains bigger than a cockroaches butt know their BS is BS and are calling them out on it and they aint good enough to give any real arguments back.

  6. Trevor Blake says:

    How much easier for them to throw a daily whinge about atheist criticism of their silly supersrition than make one squeak ever about the beatings, imprisonment, crucifixion and murder of Christians by Muslims.

  7. Paul Cook says:

    It really is about time isn’t it, that after 2000 years we, society and freethinkers, are actually turning the tide against their persecution of all those before us who were burned alive, mutilated, murdered, destroyed, raped, kidnapped, lost offices, livelihoods and families simply because they didn’t believe in their brand of nonsense. How they feel ‘persecuted’ in a free society is beyond my thought process. What I do conclude, however, is that they are losing their grip on control -over the rest of us – and they don’t like it- they lost a grip on their senses long long ago.

  8. Newspaniard says:

    What they also don’t take into account is the rise of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Us Pastafarians are on the march…

  9. barriejohn says:

    Sorry, Newspaniard, but Pastafarianism is SO yesterday – the next big thing is Dudeism – the world’s slowest-growing religion.

    Havea nice day!

  10. barriejohn says:

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    The Daily Mail is proud to be offering buckets of Royal Bullshit to their loyal readers. Mrs Hilda Braindead, of West Wittering, says: “I have been putting Royal Bullshit on my rhubarrb for years and it tastes lovely!”

  11. cnocspeireag says:

    I followed the link to the MOVIEGUIDE review just for more amusement.
    A pop up recommended another film ‘for me’, it was Nymphomaniac II.
    How did they know ? Did they detect that I’d come from your site? If they did, they actually have an unexpected sense of humour.

  12. Alan says:

    Persecuted – that’s rich given that the Christians have been doing most of the persecuting for the past few centuries. As for Nicky Morgan she is another of those Conservative Christians who conveniently ignore the commandment to the the rich to ‘sell what you own and give the money to the poor’ (Mark 10:21). Hypocrites.

  13. Matt Westwood says:

    … and in his next breath (or it may have been a different gospel) he has a go at Judas who complained about the price of the cosmetics Mary was washing his feet with. “But I thought you said go and sell all you have and give it to the poor, J?” “Ah yeah, but allow me my indulgences, you can go and give to the poor any time, but I’m here now, and I’m special.” Hypocrite much, that Jesus supposedly-Josephson?

  14. Paul Cook says:

    there is a very simple answer to that- it is because the church requires belief not action.

  15. Rob Andrews says:

    Since a lot of the postings are4 funny. Let me add one more. This is based on a true incedent:

    Pizarro is conquoring the Inca in 1535. He comes face-to-face with the Inca chief and is trying to get him to surrender.But the Inca doesn’t speek spanish and he doesn’t speek Inca.

    The catholic priest steps up as puts the bible in the inca’s face and says “you need to hear the word of the lord” But the inca doesn’t understand

    The Inca translator steps up and says “This is their holy man and he want you to hear his speak” But I’m new to learning spanish and am not sure. So the inca trakes up the bible and puts it to his ear

    “I don’t hear any god speaking. Moreover i’ve seen these bibles before. No body hears any god speak. this is another spanish trick to steal my land. That’s all you people been doing since you got here”. So he throwa the bible back a t the priest.

    “This is blasphamy, I condemn you to be burned at the stake” So as there tying the inca to the stake, the priest says, ” You can still save your soul if you repent. Then you’ll go to heaven”

    “What is this heaven” said the Inca
    “it’s where the good go when they die” priest says
    “In this heaven , are there people like you and the other spanish?”
    “Yes of coures, spain is a true daughter of the church” priest says.
    “In that case” said the inca,”I DON’T WANT TO GO!”

  16. AgentCormac says:


    That post of yours really ties the thread together, dude. Another White Russian?

  17. SecularMama says:

    So I read this article yesterday, rolled my eyes at the people who made this, and thought I’d probably never have to hear about this again. Imagine my dismay to see it being endorsed by Kathie Lee this morning on the Today show. Yep, never watching that show again.