Movie Review: Hellbound?
It is a question, a defiant and controversial one, but incredibly simple, and powerful: Does Hell Exist?
This is asked by Canadian documentarian Kevin Miller, of religious officials, devout followers, musicians, writers, and many others across the ideological spectrum in his new film Hellbound? As the title suggests with the question mark, he is not sure, but he wants to find out, because if the answer to the question is no, then far more complicated and disturbing questions arise, and that’s the dark place this documentary steers towards.
We’ve had before films questioning religion, and dissecting the coalescent of faith and politics, but here we have a documentary that strikes at the heart of the Christian doctrine. It doesn’t defy Christianity, but challenges one of its tenets, one that, as the film argues, seems to be in place only to subjugate and control.
Mr. Miller challenges those he talks to, but he is not a bully or a man with an agenda. He talks to as many people as possible, regardless of how extreme they are, and as well he should, it is just sometimes it gets tiresome. To the point, the divisive and controversial West Baptist Church, makes an appearance but they stay on message, offering little more than fiery speech full of hot air and noise.
There is much to consider, however, and Mr. Miller illustrates simply three divergent views of the afterlife in Christianity, and how those views have ostracized some within the community. You need not a primer in religion to understand or appreciate the film. Extracting it broadly, the film discusses the implementation of fear in any group in order to control.
As the film explains, this is a new question, which may come to the surprise of many. In 2011, when a pastor released a book questioning—not denying—the existence of Hell. This event set in motion a Christian controversy, the Mr. Miller’s investigation began.
It is an interesting one, and a worthy introduction to a lengthy and deep-seated debate that will continue to rage on from now to eternity; wherever that may be.