One of the age-old questions asked is “if there is a God, why does he let bad things happen?” Director Jaco Van Dermal has his own answer for that in The Brand New Testament and it’s pretty simple. God (Benoît Poelvoorde) isn’t that nice. In fact, he’s a total bastard. He’s surly, abusive and only created mankind so he could torture them. Oh, and he lives with his wife and daughter in an apartment in Brussels.
Ea (Pili Groyne) is God’s ten year old daughter. When she discovers how her father mistreats humans, she sends every one on Earth a message informing them of the exact date and time they will die. She then decides to follow in her brother JC’s footsteps and walks the streets in search of her own apostles, hoping to inject some meaning into peoples lives. God is unhappy with his daughter’s actions, however when he walks the Earth, he soon realises that his attitude and actions will have severe consequences.
The humour in The Brand New Testament is dark, but funny. Van Dermal blends a dry wit with serious subject matter with ease, ensuring that the comical laughs are accompanied by emotional depth. The episodic narrative allows the apostles’ story to be told in an almost self-contained manner, while the overall structure embraces the plot.
The performances are sardonic and warm. God may be hateful but the other main players are likeable and easy to root for. This is a satirical tale albeit one with an inspiring and morale boosting message. The laughs come often and the lovely ending should leave you with a smile on your face.