SYN Reviews: ‘An Interview with God’
An Interview with God
Words by April Austen
Preview screening provided by publicists
The title of An Interview with God gives a good clue as to what the latest Giving Films production is about. It sounds like a far-fetched yet intriguing concept, however the film fails to deliver and instead drags its viewers along a slow and meandering path of confusion.
Journalist Paul Asher (Brenton Thwaites) has returned from reporting on the war in Afghanistan to find his marriage falling apart and his veteran friend in desperate need of support through his PTSD. Paul’s only distraction is the next article he is writing: an interview with God. Over three days, Paul meets a man who says he is God (David Strathairn) and has philosophical conversations that tend to focus on this man trying to solve Paul’s marriage troubles.
An Interview with God is flawed and disengaging from the very start. None of the characters are introduced to the audience with more than the slightest sliver of background information, making it impossible to connect or understand their behaviour. It feels as though there was an extra-long line for popcorn and you missed the first half hour of the film. The cause of Paul’s marriage break-up is unclear, at times appearing that he had an affair before it turning out that his wife did. A woman that appears to be his mistress is actually his sister-in-law, but potentially his mistress as well. Director Perry Lang and writer Ken Aguado’s characters lack substance and as a result, the events that happen don’t make sense.
The most confusing part of the film is the lack of introduction to the man who claims to be God. There is no mention of why Paul is interviewing him, how he contacted him to organise the interview, whether Paul thinks this man is God or if he is a person with some form of mental illness. Considering this is the entire concept of the film, you would think a little time could be spared to explain what’s going on.
Frustratingly, Paul arrives at each interview with prepared questions yet continually ends up being interviewed by God. God’s frequent compliments to Paul on his interviewing feel out of place and patronising when it is so clear how terribly he is doing. The pair’s conversations are slow and indirect, dragging on for too long to capture attention. The man who claims to be God will never answer what he is asked and is a pretty underwhelming representation of what God could be like. Strathairn’s character feels more like a fortune teller who plays off their customer’s reactions and hints to seem legitimate, but in reality knows nothing at all.
The film attempts to shift from a dialogue-heavy theological discussion to a thriller at times, however these glimpses of plot potential fizzle out extremely quickly. There was always hope this film was going to take a twist that would save it, but this never came. Paul’s boss, Gary (Hill Harper) is the standout of the film as a character who is likeable and relatable, and who plays a role that actually drives a theme through the plot.
Otherwise, the story is too shallow, choosing to spend its time preaching the production team’s views of God and faith instead of developing an interesting plot. Faith is a sensitive and important subject and it feels arrogant for this film to put words in God’s mouth.
It is interesting to see a film that claims that faith is the answer to all problems arise at a time when religious powers, such as the Catholic Church, have never been less trusted. It’s doubtful this film will do much for regaining any belief.
An Interview with God will be released in select cinemas on October 25th.