29 April 2002 | Jona-9
Made-for-tv made better
Savage Messiah is a true story. The story of a Canadian social worker, once beaten by her husband, who discovers the women and children of a small commune are being abused by their leader. This leader, it turns out, calls himself Moses and has made the nine women living with him his concubines, mistreating them in the most violent ways.
This story made quite a lot of noise when it came out during the late eighties, both in Ontario and Quebec, especially because of the cruelty of the acts involved and the outrageous control "Moses" (Roch Thériault) had on "his" people.
While attempting to depict, sometimes with success, how it was like to live on the Church River commune, the movie mostly follows, in a very straightforward way, the social worker who discovers the truth and tries to make everything stop. Thus, it very soon starts to resemble these true stories often seen on tv on Friday night. Of course, the budget here is a little bigger, and the actors quite a bit more talented, but apart from that it just feels like a big made-for-tv movie, very easy to follow, with its few strong emotional moments along the way, but no real character development. And although the advertising prompted the viewer to "be the judge", the movie clearly adopts a subjective point of view. In the end, it's an interesting story, although violent, but a movie that, sadly or not, will not make history.