Believe Me (Bakke, 2014)

Believe Me


I don’t think I have ever bumped into a principle of sociology stated this way anywhere, but a subculture may be defined by its ability to mock itself. The defining characteristics of contemporary Evangelicalism are not dogmatic. This is surprising, given that Evangelicalism as a movement began as a set of theological distinctives packaged with a certain pose toward “cultural engagement” that inspired participation in American politics, legislation, and the culture wars.

The Evangelicals of this generation inherited this movement as a well-developed and funded establishment. And with establishment comes satire, which is a defining characteristic of contemporary Evangelicalism. One can only really laugh at oneself when they have gained the confidence and power to do so, which is a feature of the movement regardless of recent conversations about its persecution complex.

Our constant stream of Evangelical self-satire that populates social media channels is a reminder that Evangelicalism is in a new, odd cultural moment – one poised at a Hegelian precipice between its classic dogmatic theses and growing parodic antitheses. The synthesis of these elements yet eludes us.

A film like Believe Me is utterly unique from this perspective. In fact, I have never seen a movie like this and don’t... Read More

Filmwell Original Series – A Call For Papers

  We are going to change directions a bit at Filmwell for a few cycles. Consider this an experiment that requires your participation, should you be interested. Typical posting on films, TV, and other media that capture our attention will continue. But we are going to try something different when it comes to the longer format filmwriting that was once far more frequent at this site. Filmwell will begin hosting periodic symposia on specific topics... Read More

The Leftovers (Season 1, Ep 9-10) False-Alarm Raptures

In 70s and early 80s, a small subculture of American kids shared a very odd and traumatic experience. This was the era of Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth, which helped popularize the idea that a literal reading of Old and New Testament prophecy matched current events – all signs pointing to the imminent return of Jesus as described in Revelation and related New Testament passages. Hal Lindsey did not invent the idea, as this kind... Read More

Brief Guide to British Crime Drama

All recent roads in crime drama lead to Forbrydelsen, the Danish series known to American audiences by its AMC then Netflix remake The Killing. For many, The Killing introduced a new vibe or set of possibilities for telling stories about crime that British TV critics had labeled Scandinavian or Nordic noir after shows like Wallander and The Bridge made their way across the channel. This vibe has become the dominant storytelling mode in British-produced... Read More