Hellbound? Kevin Miller

Hellbound? Kevin Miller
5
The number of docs that continue to be made about the on-going Israeli/Palestinian plight, coupled with films that examine America's military involvement abroad, certainly have been hogging the limelight as of late. Considering how often religious issues are argued in America, it's surprising how few theological explorations exist. Kevin Miller's Hellbound? examines the paradox of supposed eternal damnation relative to modern Christian scripture and asks the question, "Is there really a Hell?" Travelling around the U.S. and abroad, giving his film a sense of validity beyond the scope of the usual "America, fuck yeah!" mentality, Miller speaks with a variety of individuals about their ideas of Hell, whether or not it actually exists and who goes there. Miller covers all his bases, interviewing liberal theologians, fundamentalists, evangelicals and atheists, while also including the notorious Westboro Baptist Church to ensure the full spectrum of religious believers and non-believers has a say. The discussion is principally a string of talking heads from all facets of the scale, with each faith-based view having a chance in front of the camera. For good measure, Miller also interviews Gwar, Deicide and Morbid Angel at the "Cophenhell" heavy metal festival in Copenhagen, Denmark, rounding out a truly eclectic mix of opinions. The resultant exploration of Hell quickly leads viewers down a path of uncertainty, as we swiftly see how contradictory each person's reasoning of Hell's existence, or lack thereof, truly is. Miller's treatment of the topic is functional and even-handed, but a tendency to embrace the humorous side of the debate gives his doc a quirky, almost comical feel, at times. The resultant film is one that will polarize viewers in the same manner its subject generally does: those interested in theology will find something of interest, while those who try to avoid conversations dealing with religion will likely want to avoid the film altogether. DVD extras include an audio commentary by Miller, who has plenty of supplemental details to share on his subjects, as well as ten deleted/extended interview segments that were omitted or shortened to accommodate the film's 86-minute run time. (Kevin Miller XI)