Pentecostal snake charmers test the soul in this rarely-seen corner of the world, a film that pits poison against purity in a battle for Almighty approval. It’s the kind of story set up to explore the dangers of an extremely insular culture, the risk of valuing God over medicine, and what happens when loyalty to community is held in dynamic tension with the demands of an informed conscience. For as gripping as these ideas are, the film never quite sinks its teeth into any of them, despite boasting some terrific performances. The atmosphere is a little too muted, the point of view a little too detached, and it never probes any of its characters in ways that made me care. The “thoughts and prayers” zeitgeist is a scary thing though, and the film does a decent job of reminding you of its futility.
Watched at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival