Image for post
Image for post

A Review of Kanye West’s Jesus is King

A blasphemy in IMAX

Yesterday my girlfriend and I went to see Kanye West’s new film Jesus is King. I proposed an alternate title: Kanye is Bugf — k (subtitle: for labeling this film a documentary).

Every once in a while I have to relearn this piece of advice: Always view the trailers. Always. Always view them even if they give away good parts. And always view at least one review. Even reviews with spoilers. The reason they make movies so damn long nowadays is that even if you view all of a movie’s seven trailers, even if you get spoilers, they’ll still be something for you to enjoy after all that. If the film is good.

Had I remembered to take that approach, I could have realized that Jesus is King is not a “documentary.” That and I wouldn’t have paid Big Theater Bucks for a self-indulgent thirty-five minute music video that looks to be primarily shot on Kanye’s iPhone, regardless of the quality of the gospel music. Near the beginning they sing “Oh Fortuna” switching out the original verses with “Jesus is King” and similar lines. Had they kept the real lyrics in, it would have captured my overall mood while watching this.

Today, I’m here to confess for the sins of another. And that sin is the filmmaker’s hubris. This project puts Kanye up there with Mel Gibson, who in The Passion of the Christ used his own hands to nail Jesus to the cross. Whereas Gibson was smart enough to keep his face out of it, Jesus is King would have fared better if Kanye actually put far more of himself in his film. He mostly stays behind the camera while the audience sits there, waiting for purpose.

We were expecting was a film like New York Doll where the artist divulges his spiritual journey. I would have been into that. Turns out I could have just watched this free doc on YouTube to get that experience. Instead, I paid IMAX money to figure out that Kanye probably doesn’t know how to use the macro function on his iPhone camera.

And is it a very bad sign that I find it pretentious the way Kanye’s film about religion spreads Bible quotes throughout it? Had I known how short the film was going to be, I would have recorded the entire thing and uploaded it onto YouTube while adding this quote…

Mark: 15–18 on Jesus and the money changers.
Mark: 15–18 on Jesus and the money changers.

Then I would have played it out with Kanye’s “Gold Digger.” With alternate lyrics.

If you ain’t no punk
Holla, “We want refund! We want refund!”

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store