Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway (2019) – Film Review
Director: Miguel Llanso
Cast: Daniel Tadesse, Iveta Pole, Laurie Lagle
by Roger Crow / @RogerCrow
Two CIA agents enter a virtual reality world to wipe out a virus, encountering killer flies, an Irish-accented Joseph Stalin and Jesus Christ himself. That’s the premise behind director Miguel Llanso’s heady mix of Cold War paranoia, the dystopian world of Philip K Dick, and 1960s exploitation cinema.
Imagine if Inception were made by the guys behind Napoleon Dynamite and The Greasy Strangler, while the score was from the team who composed the best Game Boy soundtracks, and that gives you some idea of the tone. Or maybe not.
This is not one of those films where the plot matters, but the style is everything.
The weird stop motion live action effects in which our heroes wear masks of Richard Pryor and Robert Redford are mesmerising, and it also handily gets round the dubbing issue.
If you’re a fan of eighties and nineties tech, such as 8-bit games, Macintosh SE/30s, and the like, then this will remind you of those pioneering tech days. The use of dial-up modem instantly gives you that late-nineties feel, and while the plot might not be up to much, it’s never dull.
It also boasts the best closing titles of the year, not that you can read the ZX81-themed graphics. I half expected Manic Miner to appear, but there was probably a rights issue that nixed such an idea.
“Erratic but inventive”
It’s truly like nothing you’ve seen, and though the plot might be all over the place and the cast are okay, full marks for effort. I’d rather see something this erratic but inventive than a by-the-numbers spy thriller any day of the week.
I wouldn’t be too surprised if Miguel Llanso was hired by Hollywood to make a more coherent version for the mainstream market. And if he does, hopefully he’ll turn Daniel Tadesse into a star. He deserves it.