Nostalgia wrapped in bacon and doused in LSD.
After seeing the trailer for Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway, I wasn’t quite convinced that this was a real movie. After watching the full length film I don’t know if my mind is fully made up on the question. Was anything in this movie real? Am I real? Are you real?
Jesus Shows You The Way popped up on my radar the way a lot of movies like this do; it was on the home video release list at The Numbers and the name caught my eye. What I did know was that this was the second film from the brilliant director Miguel Llanso, but as it so happens indie movies like this take a long time to come out internationally.
The second feature length film from Spanish-born and Estonian-settled Miguel Llansó, Jesus Shows You The Way takes a handful of 70’s and 80’s movie tropes and tosses it into a blender with 007 spy parody, ninja movies, futuristic cyberpunk, exploitation film, kung fu movies, 50’s science fiction, afrofuturism, and technological dystopia. To top it off director Miguel Llansó manages to pull this off in a way that is both absolutely ridiculous and yet brilliantly held together and built in a way that is uniquely his own.
Jesus Shows You The Way is a movie unlike anything you have ever seen.
The plot centers around two CIA agents DT Gagano (Daniel Tadesse) and Palmer Eldritch (Augustin Mateo) who are uploaded into the virtual reality world of Psychobook to destroy a virus called Soviet Union aiming to take over Psychobook. Within Psychobook both Gagano and Eldritch are portrayed by men with Richard Pryor and Robert Redford masks respectively.
Oh and everything in Psychobook moves in stop motion. It’s bizarre and jarring and I am strangely transfixed by it.
The cast of characters is massive and full of personality and spirit. DT Gagano is an agent who sees retirement on the horizon and wants nothing more than to open up a pizzeria and serve delicious pizza along with his wife Malin (Gerda-Annette Allikas) who has dreams of opening up a kickboxing school. Other characters include Batfro (Solomon Tashe), the President of Ethiopia who runs around in a censored Batman costume and is obsessed with taking down drug dealers, not to mention a poorly Italian-accented man named Mr. Sophistication (Carlo Pironti) with his trio of Italian…Ethiopian ninjas.
It should be noted that Batfro is played by two very different actors. I don’t know why.
The whole package is a film that layers itself in conspiracy and virtual reality to the point where it is never quite clear where the rabbit hole ends. Is it a dream? Virtual reality within virtual reality within virtual reality? What the hell is Beta Ethiopia? Are we tripping on acid? With how much the script flips on itself, you’d be forgiven for thinking maybe the director lost the plot, but Llanso seems to know exactly what he’s doing.
Movie critics like to say “you haven’t seen a movie like this” and you haven’t seen a movie like this. There are plenty of bad directors whose profile can be summed up as “wow look how random and quirky I am.” Miguel Llanso seems more calculated in his chaotic worlds and that’s what makes Jesus Shows You The Way such a fantastic movie.
Just watch the trailer and you’ll be hooked to pick up the full thing. Lanzadera Films is doing great work by bringing films like this to a wider audience.
Verdict: A. I have probably watched this movie four times in the past few days and all I want to do is watch it again.