(director/writer: Stephen Ujlaki, Christopher Jacob Jones; screenwriter: Alec Baer; cinematographers: Bill Yates, Pilar Timpane, Trevor May; editors: Alec Baer, Christopher Jacob Jones; music: Lili Haydn, Jeremy Grody; cast: Peter Coyote, Elizabeth Neumann, Randall Balmer, Ken Peters, Eboo Patel, Katherine Stewart, Samuel Perry, Russell Moore, Rev. William Barber II, Linda Gordon, Jim Wallis, Lisa Sharon Harper, Jonathan Wilson Hartgrove, Anne Nelson, Brent Allpress, John Marty; Runtime: 89; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Stephen Ujlaki, Christopher Jacob Jones; Panerea; 2024)

“Fiery political documentary.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Co-directors and writers Stephen Ujlaki (the former dean of LMU School of Film and Television) and Christopher Jacob Jones (“Junk”/”Trash, Manufactured”), and writer Alec Baer, tell us in this fiery political documentary the demoralizing story of the “Christian Nationalism’s Unholy War on Democracy” and its rise to power. It lays out the steps taken by the villains who schemed, raised funds, wrote political manifestos, riled-up and misled a fanatical minority to place the country in great danger of losing its democracy by urging its MAGA cohorts to invade the WH on Jan. 6th after Trump lost the presidential election to Biden and backed the loser when he refused to accept his defeat according to the Constitution.

The intense documentary dives into the possibility that the country could be in big trouble if Trump wins the 2024 presidential election against Biden, which is sad to say a frightening possibility. Even though the country somehow survived the worst president it ever had, I don’t know if it could survive him again in office since he’s turned even more dangerous since losing the election and becoming an openly anti-democratic figure saying he would be willing this time to destroy the institutions that preserved the law of the land.

The film wants to understand how a blooming idiot like Trump could become the President.

The heart of the film features an assortment of academics, pastors, and authors on both sides of the battle for the hearts and minds of the American citizen. It depicts the film’s hero as Russell Moore, the outspoken editor of “Christianity Today,” who takes on those who revel in “Bad Faith.”

There’s a spot reserved in the film for Randall Balmer, the Ivy League historian of American religion who wrote the book “Bad Faith.” He’s interviewed and tells us there’s a mythology that the Christian Right was first galvanized, in 1973, by Roe v. Wade — but that, in fact, is not true. Jerry Falwell didn’t deliver his first anti-abortion sermon until 1978. According to Balmer, the moment that galvanized the Christian Right was the 1971 lower-court ruling on school desegregation that held that any institution that engages in racial discrimination or segregation is not, by definition, a charitable institution, and therefore has no claim to tax-exempt status.

The film speaks to the chorus, as it tells us the hypocritical deal made by the evangelicals with the pagan Trump is a deal that could destroy America.

REVIEWED ON 4/25/2024  GRADE: A-