⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2 (out of 5)
Short Take: The phrase comes from the film industry, initially, and it means a short bit of recording or “something that only takes a short time,” especially if a more extended version may be done later.
Short Take review: A short review of a film with potential discussion points
Summary: In the late 1800s, the youthful and naive Danish Lutheran priest, Lucas (Elliot Crosset Hove), is given the challenge of building a new church on the shores of Iceland. As a photographer, he chooses to take the land route to the village and hires the guide, Ragnar (Ingvar Sigurðsson) to get him across the beautifully treacherous landscape. Initially, the countryside and people provide a fresh perspective on the country, but quickly proves to be more dangerous than he thought this posting would be as a means of serving God. Yet, the mission may prove to either define him or be his undoing.
Review: Award-winning writer/director Hlynur Pálmason (A White, White Day) methodical and chronological style on 35mm film gives this production the antiquated feel needed to capture the heart of the painstakingly lethargic story. The landscape is used to capture the terrible and beautiful nation depicted as unrelenting on anyone willing to venture across its surface. Elliot Crosset Hove effectively portrays the hubris of the young ministry worker who thinks they have nothing to learn from others. While Ingvar Sigurðsson provides the perfect foil to the prideful young priest as the self-made man who yearns to know God and is willing to endure the abuse of others to achieve his purposes. These components make for an intentionally laboured tale that gives rare moments of hope and humour within this hardened Icelandic people's despair and unrelenting atmosphere. Godland is artistic to a fault and manages to be as hard on the viewer as it is on its main characters to survive to the end.
Reel Dialogue: How can I know God?
A poignant aspect of this heartrending journey was Ragnar’s yearning for acceptance by God. He struggled to communicate this longing because of the language and cultural barriers. His confessional scene is one of the most powerful depictions of a person desperate to connect with the world's creator. Unfortunately, the pride of the young preacher kept the senior statesman at bay, who failed to see the opportunity of introducing God to this man as he searched for meaning.
Godland fails to show how life-changing this experience can be and how badly God yearns for a relationship with humanity. For those searching for this connection themselves, there is beauty in the simplicity of the answer. To know God, you merely need to turn from your ways and trust Jesus with your life. This decision can be straightforward, profound, and eternally life-changing.
Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. - Romans 10:9-10
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