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News & Interviews for Pray, Obey, Kill: Miniseries
...it's less a whodunit than an alternately scary and depressing portrait of a cult that was predicated on terror, power, greed and sexual deviance, and inevitably ended the way all cults do: in disastrous ignominy...
Audience Reviews for Pray, Obey, Kill: Miniseries
Apr 29, 2021The story of the cult, its sociopathic leaders, and the murders is interesting, and I will stay with it through the final episode. However, the documentary is not without its faults, chief among them being the intermittent dialogue between the two reporters/documentarians recreating their discussions about what to do next as their actual investigation proceeded. Those recreations are staged and unconvincing, which is exactly their own criticism of the crime recreation the prosecutors and investigators had the murderer stage.
Apr 13, 2021Incredibly compelling!
Apr 13, 2021Even if this were in English it would be hard to follow. Both because of the way it is filmed and edited--it is choppy and seems to be trying to be inscrutable and equivocal, as well as sort of art house in terms of having two journalists essentially recreate word for work their investigation of a murder and religious cult as well as constantly panning over a model of the village and showing people's hands moving the figures and cars and houses around--but also because the sect at the heart of this story is odd and the participants all seem odd. People will start to say something and then trail off and then we're seeing someone else or the model of the village again, or there's a voiceover, or a flashback to a press conference referring to whatever incident the person was just mentioned. The main character, a pastor, seems to be a sociopath but the thing with a sociopath is you have to be able to watch and listen to everything they say, all their body language, the hauteur and contempt they convey through inappropriate humor and offhand remarks--but often the film it cuts away from watching him being interrogated and instead are listening to a voiceover of him while watching something or someone else. There are too many people who look alike--men of the same age with similar hairstyles--and the film alternates from 2001 to 2004 to 2012 to '16 to '19 and the men's appearances change somewhat so it's hard to keep track of who is who. The pace of the documentary is geologic---it's like watching a Swedish glacier melt in real time. There's no tension. There are too many differences between Swedish culture and the Swedish police/legal system for me to understand what is normal or what is weird at any given time. For example, the interrogator of the main cult guy (whose name is Helge, which, in other countries is a female's name--to further confuse things--and a woman who was shot is Alexander, which is commonly a male's name) is apparently wearing Birkenstock sandals and socks, and is constantly joking around with this man who is almost certainly psycho, and they discuss going out to dinner and who will pay--and I just was not able to suss out whether that's customary in Sweden, or the interrogator was starstruck by the sociopath, or whether he was being canny and pretending to befriend him, or whether he was just a very shitty, inept, or inexperienced interrogator--and there's no overarching narration or even strong narrative arch that would supplant the need for overt narration. And in the sequences showing the interrogation, just when you think the cult pastor is going to say something revealing, or at least compelling, often the film edits away and then returns, and you don't know whether you've missed something or whether the guy simply didn't answer the question, or what the director is trying to do or signal. Tedious in the extreme, and clumsily made.