Bad Preachers and the 'Hand of God'
Image: Amazon
Ron Perlman in 'Hand of God'

Hand of God, Amazon Original Pilot

I love the good ministers on TV and at the movies. But I think we’ve got to learn to watch bad ministers better, too.

Let me explain.

This is the third “pilot season” that Amazon.com has put together, which works this way: you can watch five pilot episodes of new series (three comedy, two drama), then vote to decide which one gets made into an Amazon Original series. There have been five Originals—three of which are for children—but this year’s offerings seem to be swinging for the fences. All five include are for adults (at times, aggressively so) and involve some well-known talent; two are also helmed by film veterans: Cosmopolitans, written and directed by Whit Stillman, and Hand of God, written by Burn Notice’s Ben Watkins and directed by Marc Forster (World War Z, Machine Gun Preacher, Stranger Than Fiction, Finding Neverland).

You’ll probably like Cosmopolitans , set among a group of slightly self-important young expats in Paris, if you like Whit Stillman’s movies: Metropolitan, Barcelona, Last Days of Disco, Damsels in Distress. It’s a talky sardonic-but-affectionate light comedy of manners.

But Hand of God, as the title implies, is interested in matters of religion, particularly in how it affects the balance of power and violence in America. (Be aware that there’s some nudity, violence, lots of bad language, and some disturbing adult themes on the level of your average prestige cable drama.)

Pernell Harris, a corrupt judge—played by Ron Perlman who, either appropriately or ironically, also played Hellboy—is found naked in a fountain in the middle of town, speaking in tongues. They haul him ...

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Watch This Way
How we watch matters at least as much as what we watch. TV and movies are more than entertainment: they teach us how to live and how to love one another, for better or worse. And they both mirror and shape our culture.
Alissa Wilkinson
Alissa Wilkinson is Christianity Today's chief film critic and assistant professor of English and humanities at The King's College in New York City. She lives in Brooklyn.
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Bad Preachers and the 'Hand of God'
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