See This Film: American Jesus DVD Review

     Directors: Aram Garriga
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Shelter Island
  • DVD Release Date: May 13, 2014
  • Run Time: 94 minutes



            With the legalization of gay marriage and marijuana constantly debated, I have been told repeatedly that we are currently in a culture war, and if I am a Christian that apparently means that I must align with the conservative views on political matters. I find this infuriating, as I don’t like being lumped in with every viewpoint of any group with which I am connected. As a Christian, I don’t think all of the same things as every other Christian across America any more than I would agree with every liberal in the United States. American Jesus may be the first piece of art I have come across that captures the unique and personal relationship each individual can have with Christ.


            The unbiased manner in which filmmaker Aram Garriga approaches the material, allowing individuals to tell their unique stories, is most reminiscent of the respected radio and television program, “This American Life.” There are no clear inserted viewpoints or agendas to the subject, but merely an opportunity to see all sides of Christianity and what it means to Americans from all walks of life. At the same time, there should be no assumption that this is merely a film about Christians made for Christians, because there is enough human interest in each unique story to make it universally accessible. There are also some social and political aspects of the film that would make issues in the film interesting to Americans without faith or religion.


            The film itself is fascinating from start to finish, and includes even more great interviews in the special features. All but one of them are as good, if not better, than all of the interviews that made it into the film. There are actually more celebrities in the deleted scenes than there are in the actual film, perhaps showing a choice to remove that element from the narrative. The special features also contain a “making-of” featurette, which is really just a few minutes of behind-the-scenes footage that doesn’t really give any insight to the filmmaking process other than the way they held the camera to get B-roll footage.


    Entertainment Value: 8.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 9/10

    Historical Significance: 6/10

    Special Features: 7/10



    No comments: