The Neon Bible - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Neon Bible Reviews

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October 9, 2015
For better or worse, The Neon Bible is yet another trip into the childhood of Terence Davies. Although this is a literary adaptation, the story is so similar to his previous work (cruel father, childhood bullying, idealized mother figures, abusive nature of religion) that the film he's made out of the source material is nearly identical to the three that preceded it. Unfortunately, it pales by comparison due to a couple of stilted performance, but given that it's a Davies film there are several elements that work wonderfully, particularly his signature stylistic flourishes (an emphasis on windows, symmetrical shots, dream-like movement between scenes, poignantly romantic imagery). While not his best film, there's still enough here to qualify The Neon Bible as a solid reiteration of Davies' previous work that stands on its own, albeit in a less compelling fashion.
October 29, 2005
Neon Bible (1995) ? ?Good crowd. Good money.? ? Bobby Lee (Evangelist)

In the ultra-racist, holy-rolling South of the 1940?s, there?s a boy that just doesn?t belong. Unable to fit in with his peers, all he has is his wife-thumping father and his mentally deteriorating mother until Aunt Mae, too old to work the honkey-tonks anymore, comes to live with them. Aunt Mae (Gena Rowlands), a social outcast among the town?s religious zealots, is David's window on the world.

The mostly bitter tale unwinds from 15-year old David's (Jacob Tierney - Twist) mind as he rides alone on a train. Director Terence Davies does a good job of staying within the boy?s mind as the scenes are reenacted. As a viewer, watching these events unfold from the perspective of a boy?s tortured soul is a challenge. Everything?s dramatic and over-amplified.

The toxic mixture of abuse, intolerance, and religion unfolds in something like a ?stage play musical.' The pace is deliberate with long camera pans and extended scene transitions. The film was both lauded (acting and direction) and disembowled (acting and direction). It may be a bit artsy for some.
October 9, 2015
For better or worse, The Neon Bible is yet another trip into the childhood of Terence Davies. Although this is a literary adaptation, the story is so similar to his previous work (cruel father, childhood bullying, idealized mother figures, abusive nature of religion) that the film he's made out of the source material is nearly identical to the three that preceded it. Unfortunately, it pales by comparison due to a couple of stilted performance, but given that it's a Davies film there are several elements that work wonderfully, particularly his signature stylistic flourishes (an emphasis on windows, symmetrical shots, dream-like movement between scenes, poignantly romantic imagery). While not his best film, there's still enough here to qualify The Neon Bible as a solid reiteration of Davies' previous work that stands on its own, albeit in a less compelling fashion.
½ May 25, 2014
Lyrical, beautiful and amazing view of the past and more.
May 16, 2014
Gena Rowlands awesome (as usual) performance alone makes this movie worth seeing
April 4, 2014
A difficult film. No hopeful narrative arc here, more a sense of continuing harshness and hopelessness as David grows up in his reactionary small town community. Painted in a series of vignettes which build a larger picture of a hard life in the South. Interestingly there are no black faces here, not one. Gena Rowlands owns this movie.
½ March 19, 2012
good southern period piece
½ March 28, 2009
After this movie i decided no more Terence Davies movies.
November 22, 2011
If someone asked me to squat on a sea urchin for an hour an a half, I would have gone through less pain. Like a Siberian winter, you just hope you make it to the end.
½ November 21, 2010
Nice imagery but the story is disjointed - it can easily be seen as a collection of childhood memories that make for a depressing 90 minutes.
½ September 3, 2010
Not bad, bit dull, slow direction, seen better from Davies, ok overall.
July 17, 2008
LETTERBOX. Ultra-ultralenta, pero muy bien lograda en atmósfera y propuesta estética... Y tiene a Gena Rowlands, claro. / Super, superslow, but extremely accomplished atmosphere and aesthetic design... Plus, Gena Rowland's in it, of course.
Super Reviewer
May 19, 2007
Based on the book by John Kennedy Toole (which I have not read), which was the inspiration for a song and the name of the Arcade Fire's second album (which is, amongst other things, about the hypocrasy of religion). The DVD art looks cheesy, but the film stars Geena Rowlands who is good in anything, and as a fan of the Arcade Fire I want to check it out anyway. EDIT: It has just made my day reading the wildly inaccurate synopsis which has clearly come from the description of a childrens christian cartoon.
July 14, 2007
The Arcade Fire is a band from Canada. Their music makes me think of the coldest day of the year, times ten. Everytime I hear Funeral, especially Neighborhood #3 (Tunnels), I get this cold feeling in my stomach.

It was the same feeling I got when I got the phone call that Chris Benoit was dead or the time I knocked that girl in Baltimore up.
October 29, 2005
Neon Bible (1995) ? ?Good crowd. Good money.? ? Bobby Lee (Evangelist)

In the ultra-racist, holy-rolling South of the 1940?s, there?s a boy that just doesn?t belong. Unable to fit in with his peers, all he has is his wife-thumping father and his mentally deteriorating mother until Aunt Mae, too old to work the honkey-tonks anymore, comes to live with them. Aunt Mae (Gena Rowlands), a social outcast among the town?s religious zealots, is David's window on the world.

The mostly bitter tale unwinds from 15-year old David's (Jacob Tierney - Twist) mind as he rides alone on a train. Director Terence Davies does a good job of staying within the boy?s mind as the scenes are reenacted. As a viewer, watching these events unfold from the perspective of a boy?s tortured soul is a challenge. Everything?s dramatic and over-amplified.

The toxic mixture of abuse, intolerance, and religion unfolds in something like a ?stage play musical.' The pace is deliberate with long camera pans and extended scene transitions. The film was both lauded (acting and direction) and disembowled (acting and direction). It may be a bit artsy for some.
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