DATELINE: God Squad
Chitchat with angels or devils are common movies themes, but few films actually depict God deigning to share their deity. The latest movie to try this is Interview with God. Don’t confuse this with that TV show about God friending someone.
We think of angels in Here Comes Mr. Jordan, or devils in The Seventh Seal. Usually, God has been less willing to show up unless it is in some Bible movie.
Without John Huston or Orson Welles to play God, you may feel that anyone else is just an interloper in the wind. The hook is what questions to ask God in conversation. How trite it becomes.
As God, David Strathairn is a respected actor of serious note and he fills the shoes of the role. His silver hair glistens, and his gray suit is tailored. This God is 21st century chic
God chooses to meet with a journalist who suffers post-traumatic stress from serving in Afghanistan. Writers are always a bad bet. He also refuses to acknowledge he has a problem. The addiction/problem du jour used to be alcohol, or gambling, or sex. Now it’s bad war-time memories.
Brenton Thwaites is exasperating and self-centered, and he looks the part.
The main character Paul Asher is editor of a “religious” newspaper thrilled with the idea of having God in an exclusive interview, even if it is fantastical. However, it is no joke to the poor writer, though others may think he is deluded.
God seems irksome in this film, coy about his answers and trying not to be flashy. He has arrived, it appears, to tell compelling actor Brenton Thwaites’ journalist that he has run out of time and better shape up.
The adorable Australian actor makes for a cute New Yorker on his bike, dangerously careening the streets, almost ready to die out of disregard for safety.
We were ready to buy into this movie but found ourselves cast back to college teaching days when creative writing classes were filled with scripts like this. We were reminded how all too often these bad ideas were lauded as “serious” literature.
This movie probably demands more support because “important” films are too far and few between. We only wish God actors like Huston and Welles were still around to give a movie like this true gravitas, if not credibility.