It should be no surprise to anyone that readme is a connoisseur of fine humor. Unfortunately, with upcoming ‘comedy’ films like Dumb and Dumber 2, it can be hard to find the funny in things. Thankfully, movies like Persecuted more than pick up the slack.
In the vein of such classics as Zoolander or Trading Places, Persecuted takes a ludicrous premise and rolls with it. In the world of Persecuted, American Christians are the most persecuted minority of the modern day, and only one man, the evangelical pastor John Luther, can stand against a government-wide conspiracy to quash the Christian faith. Things get wackier when the conspiracy frames Luther for murder so they can pass a bill that would—wait for it—prevent television networks from endorsing any single religion. Luther engages in a host of zany escapades as he tries to clear his name, culminating in a hilarious climax where, with a gun in one hand and a rosary in the other, Luther fights to protect all that (right-wing conservative) America holds dear.
The movie is a brilliant satire of extremist right-wing values. Some subtle jokes may fly over the heads of un-savvy viewers, though, and readme finds it rather remiss that the film chose not to make the gay mafia part of the film’s shadowy conspiracy. How, readme asks, can a film so thoroughly spoof the idea that all of America is firmly opposed to Christian values, and not include any hint of the right-wing Christian’s worst nightmare, the homosexual? And they didn’t even make their President a secret Muslim or anything!
Still, Persecuted more than makes up for these missed opportunities through its ingenious marketing strategy. Taking a page from mock-umentarians like Sacha Baron Cohen, the filmmakers concocted an elaborate masquerade in which the movie was pitched as a serious action thriller set in the present day. Fred Thompson, who plays Luther’s father in the film, revealed his dedication to the ruse in a publicity interview when he asserted that Persecuted, though a work of fiction, described a scenario that could reasonably happen in the America of today. Truly, the man is an acting genius. How he managed to hold back his laughter, readme will never know.
Between its premise and the dedicated meta-marketing, Persecuted generates laughs from start to finish. readme would highly recommend it to those who enjoy both wry satire and laugh-out-loud slapstick.