TIFF 2016: Jesus Review

Discovery 

Jesús follows the misadventures of its titular protagonist, a Chilean teen who just can’t seem to get a handle on anything. Unfortunately Fernando Guzzoni’s film is unnecessarily exploitative at worst and middling at best.

Jesús lives with a father who’s always away on business, giving him plenty of opportunity to get up to no good with his fellow boy band members. Most of the time they’re drinking or getting high, they’ll also watch the occasional snuff film and engage in violent activities. I couldn’t find myself relating or sympathizing with any of these characters, as they appeared not to have any redeeming qualities whatsoever.

The film contains several explicit sex scenes as Jesús floats between female and a male partners. Private parts are made public and the sex scenes don’t contribute to an overall understanding of the character. Guzzoni seems make his choices based on what will have the most shock value. For example a scene where Jesús and friends beat up a drunken young man feels like it goes on for 10 minutes, at the end of which all you can think is – well, he’ll be going to prison soon. Good riddance.

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Jesús has the beginnings of an interesting character, but as portrayed in the film, remains two dimensional despite efforts like his apparent bisexuality. His tattoos on his cheeks of musical symbols may have been interesting to address, or how he became a snuff film fan. Very little is explored, nothing is gained.

Michael McNeely is a deaf-blind film critic and advocate for greater accessibility in our cinemas. Read more about his story here.

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