Sound the horn for Jesus. save your soul2022.
Written and directed by Adamma Ebo.
Starring Regina Hall, Sterling K. Brown, Austin Crute, Nicole Beharie, Devere Rogers, Confidance, Crystal Alicia Garrett, Andrea Laing, Avis-Marie Barnes, Selah Kimbro Jones, Elle Young, Dhane Ross, Jerome Beazer, Perris Drew, Greta Glenn and Robert Yatta.
In the wake of a major scandal, Trinitie Childs, the first lady of a prominent Southern Baptist Megachurch, tries to help her pastor and husband, Lee-Curtis Childs, rebuild their congregation.
It is verified that Sound the horn for Jesus. Save your soul. (an attention-grabbing title, to be sure, but unwieldy for writing purposes and will be summarized hereafter) is drawn from the personal Georgian upbringing of twin sister filmmakers Adamma Ebo and Adanne Ebo (the letter serves as producer along with the seductress like Jordan Peele, Daniel Kaluuya and the film’s stars Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown). What starts out as a mockumentary satire slowly but surely turns into a narrative with dramatic weight, anchored by a couple of sublime twists talented enough to overcome the inconsistent tones and unsure writing.
Lee-Curtis Childs and Trinitie Childs (Sterling K. Brown and Regina Hall) are a power couple of con men who run a Southern Baptist church. That changes a bit once Lee-Curtis is exposed for serial sexual misconduct, subsequently bleeding parishioners. Some believe that Lee-Curtis is innocent, either from the perspective of someone who claims that the victims are seductive demons trying to bring down the church or theorize that he is the last successful black businessman who became too famous with society by putting a target on his back.
One doesn’t need to understand Southern Baptist culture to find the humor here (although it presumably expands on some jokes) because misconduct is commonplace among religions. It also goes beyond belief; How often do we see a celebrity accused of sexual misconduct only to have a vocal minority emerge from the woodworks screaming foul play while harassing and blaming women? The point is that honk jesus it certainly has a universal and heartwarming appeal regardless of the characters’ setting.
For what is a low-budget title (writer-director Adamma Ebo has stretched her short into a narrative feature film), honk jesus it also makes the most of its production design, portraying the extravagant lifestyle that these characters lead (there are thrones and all kinds of lavish materialism to give the feeling that we are watching Los Lobos de Mega Iglesias). Impressive tracking shots constantly slide over conflicting characters and their highly emotional facial expressions, aesthetic lighting juxtapositions are pleasing, and a different vision saturates the entire look and feel of the film.
No one can deny that Adammo Ebo has created and overseen a technically sound piece of cinematography, bolstered by actors who are ready to be taken wherever the script takes them. but a lot of honk jesus it’s just not fun. In any case, he is too obsessed with ripe fruits. In Lee-Curtis’s sermons, he is a huge homophobe. I’m sure you can guess who some of his sexual targets were. There’s also nothing wrong with taking the easy shot, but honk jesus it doesn’t say anything particularly new or insightful about any of these relevant topics.
Suddenly, Sound the horn for Jesus. Save your soul. takes a sharp turn into a serious exploration of the dynamic between Lee-Curtis and Trinitie. The former is unquestionably narcissistic, while Trinitie goes through a crisis of faith in support of her egotistical husband. How much longer is she willing to make a fool of herself? Will she wake up and leave this unjust chaos? Admittedly, this leads to a phenomenal monologue from Regina Hall, but the scene comes too late. The laughs have dried up (not that there are many, to begin with); it’s puzzling what we’re supposed to be supporting here (the performances are fine, but they lack the tornado energy to make viewers hope that the sexual past can reopen its church and recover). The themed bite is more like a lick. Someone needed to honk for better structure and more focus.
Flashing Myth Rating – Movie: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the reviews editor for Flickering Myth. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at [email protected]