The Rapture ★★★★½

Woman of material
Finds greater calling
As potent as heroin.
But the highs of the faithful
Must suffer to believe.

The one film I hadn’t watched for my thesis and quite blown away by it. Begins sort of as a conspiracy thriller, a search for something more in a world full of lurid and meaningless action, and in many ways could be a prototype for The Matrix. Instead, it’s actually more of an addiction film (much better than Requiem, though that’s not particularly difficult) in which drugs and sex turns into faith, which then builds into something stranger as it goes along. Tolkin has a truly dynamic palette—from the slow, methodical tracking shot in the moody blue haze that opens the film, to the jagged and hyper-bloated colors of the film’s erotic encounters, to a finale out of Bergman (with at least one shot that directly recalls The Seventh Seal’s ending). I’ll be writing on this very longform for my thesis, but what the hell happened to Michael Tolkin? The Rapture did play the festival circuit in 1991, and he had a splash with The Player in 1992. I’ve heard The New Age has its advocates, but his last script? Nine. Oof. In another world, and given the spiritual angle of Deep Impact (!), this guy could have been the American Bergman. Also Mimi Rogers’s face in this film. That is all.

ONE SPOILERIFIC POINT TO FOLLOW: At once I’m utterly, um, enraptured by the final twenty minutes and especially the final sequence along the Stux, while also strangely perplexed by how exactly to read the takeaway. Mary’s final decision – to accept God exists but to reject his love – is so originally bold that I’m left in complete awe of its strangeness. Scott Renshaw provided me some notes to consider the idea that Tolkin essentially turns the assumption that God must naturally be good, and thus creates what is so unique here.