Friday, June 19, 2015

Watch out! Bernie Olaf/The Strasson Group's ghosts-&-evil-spirits 'documentary,' WARX2

Perhaps you've heard of the many, many military suicides stemming from our recent, aged and likely-forever-more wars in the middle east? And, if you follow the news, you'll have also heard of how mid-east terrorist groups --  Al-Qaeda to ISIS -- are recruiting western-world youngsters to perform various terrorist acts. Guess what? These are not results of Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder (PTSD) in the first instance, or in the second, of old-fashioned brainwashing on the uneasy and pliable minds of our young. No. It's all because of ghosts and evil spirits.

That's right. And the movie under examination here, WARX2 via a fellow named Bernie Olaf and The Strasson Group -- yes, do click on that link and then try to learn more about the "group." Clearly, they don't want you to be able to do this -- is hellbent on convincing us that all these military suicides (and young suicide bombers) are simply suffering from the effects of ghosts and evil spirits (often lumped together here under the moniker of "jinn"). I don't know about some of these brainwashed kids currently in the hands of ISIS, but certainly those men and women who have fought for our country and now exhibit PTSD deserve better than this nitwit movie for help and explanation.

Warx2 gives us plenty of statistic -- if nothing remotely resembling evidence -- but those statistics have more to do with how many continents and countries exist on earth -- hardly earth-shaking evidence of anything beyond simple geography. So where does any proof of Olaf's thesis come in? How is this brainwashing going on? To answer this, we get an explanation of the brain and the heart and other body parts. So? As for the ghosts, we begin with a single silly anecdote told by a guy who works in a club bar and claims to have seen them. I kid you not.

This is followed eventually by remarks from witch doctors and other men and women who make claims, offering nothing remotely like evidence. Can PTSD really be coupled to spiritual warfare? "Absolutely," declares our Brit-accented narrator, "if you are not rooted in Christ." Uh-oh.

Yes, indeed: What we have here turns out to be one big, fat (two-hour-and-three-minute), pompous, lamebrained commercial for god. At one point we get a complete run-down of all of Moses' commandments, later a partial rendition of The Lord's Prayer, and then, at movie's end, around ten very long minutes of non-stop prayer, in which the same prayer -- "I am asking you, almighty god, please punish all the satan and evil spirits who enter my..." (this same prayer is repeated over and over, first using arms, then legs, then chest, mind, heart, toes, you name it). Following this, we get a new prayer, repeated ad nauseum, using mostly similar body parts, and one brand new one, of which the upcoming is my favorite.  I quote verbatim: "I am asking you, almighty god, please flush and blow all the satan and evil forces from my inside nose."

I think by now, you'll  be able to decide if this is the documentary for you. There is finally something almost childlike, if not utterly childish, about the whole endeavor. Along the way, we're told how "god works just like a bank." If so, the big guy clearly knows little about the machinations of our current banking system.

And yet we're told that god is more dependable that any government and more reliable that anything else on earth. To which my agnostic self rolls his eyes and says, "Tell that to all those, down the centuries, who've died thanks to religion."

Along the way, we're also told that evil spirits can even change the outcome of important soccer games. (And here we've been imagining that this had to do instead with FIFA and all that graft and corruption.) Everything and everyone -- from the military psychiatrist who went on a killing spree to the underwear and shoe bombers hoping to being down airplanes -- were actually under the spell of evil spirits.

The movie's "ace-in-the-hole," however, would appear to be that it provides ways to prevent one's body and soul being taken over by these "jinn." How? Prayer before bedtime (of course), along with avoiding jokes (yes!), avoiding being sad, avoiding Facebook (I'd have to agree with that one on general principle), and -- my favorite -- using bacon and its grease to protect against evil spirits. Gheesh: What's a poor Jew to do?

The movie is actually a not-very-well-concealed call to arms against you know who. As if to counter this, the narrator tells us: "Don't stereotype people, but assume all people, especially Africans and Arabs, use spirits and jinn"  Hello, asshole: don't you realize you are stereotyping even as you speak these stupid words?

Presidents Obama (for whom I personally have little liking or respect) and George W. Bush (whom I would like to see imprisoned for his and his underlings' criminal acts that took us via lies and deception into illegal war) are shown to supposedly understand -- via some cherry-picking of their statements and actions -- all this "jinn" stuff.

Aside from all of the above, how does WarX2 stack up as a piece of filmmaking? Very badly. It's repetitive, telling us the same information over and over, as well as showing us many of the same ordinary visuals again and again. And, since no evidence is offered of anything that would be used in a genuine documentary, let alone stand up in a court of law, all we get is a sermon-in-disguise that does not belong in a movie theater nor even in most churches -- at least those that I'm familiar with.

WarX2 is, however, getting some theatrical play -- in Texas -- at two Alamo Drafthouse theaters: in Houston and Katy, beginning Friday, June 26. More theaters will be added soon, it is claimed.  For a different "take" on this movie, and one with which that I thoroughly disagree, you can check out the blog of one of my compatriots, Avi Offer, the NYC Film Guru. You can read his thoughts on the film by clicking here.

Note: There are no photographs above, 
save one of the poster image, because I could 
find nothing available. And I don't have time, nor does 
the movie merit it, to crib images from its preview trailer.
Again, as with its About the Strasson Group empty page, 
the film's web site pretends to have a gallery of images, 
but when you click on it, you get nothing.

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