A movie was made from a short film, “For Jesus, honk. Protect Your Soul “shows signs of the magnification process’s strain; as far as premises go, feels a little light in terms of the collection plate. Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall, who play the disgraced pastor and his wife who are desperately trying to make a comeback, give the central performances that make this dark satire awkwardly watchable.
Pastor Childs, are the claims accurate? The question is posed to Brown’s Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs early on, but for the majority of the film, the specifics of the scandal are purposefully left unexplored.
As the unflaggingly optimistic pastor and his wife Trinitie (Hall) work to rebuild their Atlanta megachurch, the specifics are actually rather unimportant,On Easter Sunday, Ada, which once had thousands of parishioners, plans a triumphant reopening.
Although there are enough uncomfortable moments that they frequently find themselves speaking directly to the unseen filmmakers, the Childs have also invited a documentary crew to tag along, fly-on-the-wall style, as they go about the process, in what appears to be an act of hubris.
It serves the purpose of forcing Brown and Hall to maintain smiles while tension simmers just beneath the manicured surface as they watch their empire slip away. However, writer-director Adamma Ebo, who produced the movie alongside her twin sister Adanne, the stars, Daniel Kaluuya, and Jordan Peele, might have done without it in this format.
They eventually resort to roadside preaching amid mentions of “the settlement” paid out to those who were wrong, showing just how low the mighty have fallen. They also observe their members leaving for a different church led by a younger couple (Nicole Beharie, Conphidance), who don’t do a very good job of hiding their desire to profit from their rivals’ misfortune, which the former refers to as a “landfill of a circumstance.”
Honk for Jesus, which made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival, obviously has commentary about the transactional nature of some religious organisations baked into the concept by displaying Pastor Childs’ flashy attire and pricey shoes as proof of those who make money off their flocks.While concentrating on the struggles of the main couple and, to use a song’s line, the lengths Trinitie will go to support her man, the movie’s larger theme feels underdeveloped.
In that regard, the film serves as a strong showcase for Brown and Hall and establishes Ebo as a talent to watch, if not one who completely delivers in this context.
At one point, Pastor Childs admits, “I am not a perfect man.”
“Honk for Jesus” isn’t a perfect movie, but at least it’s an interesting one, so praise it for that.
“For Jesus, honk. Protect Your Soul “debuts on September 2 in US cinemas and on Peacock. R is the rating.