'Electric Jesus' Review: Acting makes film a lovely gift for Christian rock lovers
'Electric Jesus', VoD's latest film, is the story of a talented group of teenagers who strive to practice harmony and music for the love of Jesus and want to share their hard rock tunes with the world, albeit this particular genre of music is very unorthodox and rare.
A promoter (Brian Baumgartner) sells sound man Erik and his favorite Christian metal band, 316, with the promise of a bus tour, during the summer of 1986. Their so-called idea of making Jesus famous meets the confusion of personal ethics, religious introspections, lifelong friendships and first loves.
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'Electric Jesus' follows the unforgettable journey of a rock band called 316 and their brief tour, told through the perspective of its soundman and God-lover Erik (Andrew Eakle). They’re also joined by Pastor Wember’s daughter, Sarah (Shannon Hutchinson), and both her and Erik go through a rollercoaster of emotions. The film is a fresh take on unconventional ideas and tunes, focusing mainly on creating religious music, whilst featuring some fantastic performances throughout.
What's sure to catch you off guard is how 'Electric Jesus' manages to make us understand that spreading the love of Jesus requires planning and touring which needs money, and for which, you need to make the best use of your talent. It is also shown that religion, although incredibly restrictive, only helps in the growth of a being. As mentioned before, 'Electric Jesus' is largely about the disillusionment of Erik. The band members all come out of their own bubble and meet the real world while on stage.
One flaw of the movie is its pace. There are a lot of scenes that didn't need extensive shots or description, so watching those parts feel like the movie's being dragged. Having said that, the build-up towards 316's final performance wasn't ideal either. We see parts of some tunes being set at the start of the movie and the actual performance is a short version of the complete song. For an ardent music lover, this would seem like something of a heartbreak!
Overall, the cast of 'Electric Jesus' is beyond amazing. Brian Baumgartner wouldn't disappoint, of course. If you're a fan of 'The Office', you're sure to have set your standards high with Brian's acting anyway! Towards the last leg of the movie, you come to realize that the promoter Skip Wlck is someone who has not had success by his side a lot. Still, there is no lack in his ability to encourage and enliven the band! The character portrayal is just stupendous.
At some point during the course of the movie, you'll also tend to either relate to or want to protect Erik because the boy's just too naive with a pure soul. You'd want to keep him away from all the bad sights in the world solely for the kind of human he is. Shannon Hutchinson as Sarah is sure to leave a mark on you too, to wonder about her angelic voice, why she’s constantly getting away just to sing, but also the warmth her presence brings and the way she lights up a room.
'Electric Jesus' is definitely recommended to anyone with a heart for chords — for those who have loved and forgotten what songs make them feel and most importantly, for those who believe in the magic and power of music.