Much like rock-&-roll and professional wrestling, the Acid Western is one of the few truly American art forms. It’s a deconstructionist approach to the highly stylised American-myth making of the Western, itself a deeply political genre, that was steeped in the counter-cultural of the 60s. Whilst it’s heavily influenced by European new wave cinema, and its most famous creator is Chilean-French, it’s fundamentally America looking at itself looking at itself, and that’s strange before you get to all the uneasy weirdness that gets poured on top. And given the amount of religious fervor in The Old West, it’s almost an inevitability that Robert Downey Sr – satirist, firebrand, and reputably terrible father – would make one that’s based on the life of Jesus.
Before I get into this review, I want to make a couple of things very clear.
- Thank you to everyone who donated to Shelter to make me go through the “experience” of watching these two movies. I think it cannot be overstated that without your money I would never have done this. And if you haven’t donated: don’t worry, there is still time!!
- If you like ABBA then please don’t consider this a shot at the band. They aren’t my cup of tea, mostly because in my opinion, if they were tea then they would be the kind that’s made by showing hot water a tea bag for a second and gets presented to great disapproval from your Gran who was quietly listening to some Slayer. But I can accept that ABBA are very good at their job.
- If you like the live musical Mamma Mia!, accept that this isn’t a shot at that either. I wouldn’t want to go see it myself but it takes skill and talent to do this kind of thing live, so watching any stage show gets to be impressive by the default of raw human accomplishment. I’m not a fan of jukebox musicals, I’m not a fan of ABBA, but I’ll still tip my hat to those involved in that kind of performance.
So, with that in mind, here’s how I feel after 221 minutes of having my mind hammered into stunned silence by some of the most high-gloss mediocrity I’ve come across.