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Review: The Gospel (2005)

The Gospel (2005) 

Directed by: Rob Hardy

Premise: An up and coming hip-hop star (Boris Kodjoe) returns to his father’s church when the parent develops health problems.

What Works: This retelling of the prodigal son story has some very strong performances, especially by Idris Elba as an egotistical preacher who is driven by pride as much as faith. There are some other promising actors including Kodjoe and Nona Gaye. The film includes musical cameos by Christian performers and the music and its story will appeal to fans of these genres.

What Doesn’t: On a technical level, the film leaves a lot to be desired. The sound quality is poor and the dubbing is very noticeable in the musical sequences. The storytelling in the opening of the film is very muddled and terribly put together, which denies the narrative a strong foundation to build on, although the film does get better halfway through. Some of the character relationships meander and do not really move or they move too quickly.

Bottom Line: Like many religious films, The Gospel is a film made for a specific audience, and so it ends up preaching to the choir. Viewers who have enjoyed films like Diary of a Mad Black Woman might find this rewarding, but the film cannot get past the technical problems and its weak script.

Episode: #74 (November 6, 2005)