By Alex Kelly
In a sea of gory and downtrodden films, Sundance might have just premiered its funniest and most quotable film in years.
With one of the best names of a movie, Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul embarks on the journey of megachurch Pastor Lee-Curtis Childs, played by Sterling K. Brown, and First Lady Trinitie Childs, played by Regina Hall in her second film of Sundance after Masters, as they try to rebuild their congregation after it is rocked by a scandal brought upon them by the actions of Pastor Childs.
Told in a hybrid mockumentary setting, the cut between what is supposed to be footage of the documentary being filmed by the offscreen and mostly silent fly on the wall Anita and non-documentary footage is a format that allows an insight into this world of for-profit religion and brings the satire into a whole new light.
The attention to detail in this movie is incredible, and the costume design is the most on-point aspect of the entire film. Just like Succession does when aligning characters by wardrobe color, Honk has every couple in identical colored clothes except for the Childs, who as they grow farther apart are visually nowhere close to each, with Pastor Childs in dapper pink suits and First Lady Childs in bright yellow tops.
This movie would be nothing, however, without the performances of Hall and Brown. While Hall suffered under an uneven script in Masters, she takes the biting satire given to her by writer-director Adamma Ebo and runs with it, capped off with a wild scene towards the end as she holds the titular Honk for Jesus sign on the side of the road.
Brown is also superb as he brings to life the self-destructive and narcissistic Pastor Childs. He delivers a rousing monologue from the pulpit with the First Lady looking on, but his truly best scene is when he is in the pool, with one of several quotable lines that set this movie apart from satire films of recent memory.
The biting nature of this movie in large part is due to the no holds barred look at what Christianity and mega-churches have become in America. While some might see it as easy jokes to be made by showing a room full of suits and a driveway full of sports cars, the best way they showed the hypocrisy of this congregation was in its representation of Jesus himself. Southern churches have consistently painted Jesus as a white man, but Ebo finds a fresh way to show the ridiculous nature of these representations and it is one of the biggest shockers of the movie.
Honk For Jesus. Save Your Soul has two of the best performances of Sundance and will leave you laughing hysterically while also making you cringe at the hypocrisy of almost every single character on screen. This is a movie that should be seen by everyone, and I cannot wait to hear the discussion around it.