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The Book of Clarence (2023) - IMDbReview

The Book of Clarence (Adventure, Comedy, Drama) (2023)


Director: Jeymes Samuel

Writer: Jeymes Samuel

Stars: LaKeith Stanfield, Omar Sy, Anne Diop, RJ Cyler

Struggling with debt and addiction, being seen as a lesser man compared to his apostle brother. This unfortunate son pretends to be the actual messiah, insisting Jesus is nothing but a trickster.

Premiering at the BFI London Film Festival, "The Book of Clarence" exposes us to an alternate history, where our image of God's son Jesus Christ of Nazareth might be inaccurate. Somewhat of a farce on the whole, "What if God was Black?" or similar ponderings of what the truth truly is. It was produced by Legendary Pictures and Kilburn Lane and distributed by TriStar Pictures.

In Jerusalem, 33 A.D., a man named Clarence (LaKeith Stanfield), together with his friend Elijah (RJ Cyler), succumbs to his own whims, committing petty crimes and borrowing money he's unable to repay. One day, hearing tales of the rise of Jesus Christ, Clarence commits to the chicanery of proclaiming himself messiah. While laughable, crowds gather, fooled by the young man. In mockery of the delusion, the Romans lead to arrest Clarence, and his tricks might carry him towards an unfavourable end.

As a satirical endeavour of biblical proportion, "The Book of Clarence" allows Jeymes Samuel to provide something lighter and more comedic than his last feature. It's a promise that could be difficult to attain, seeing comparisons to "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" within the contents of his film and the religious aspects carrying much vehement.

The Book of Clarence (2023) - IMDbWithin a format similar to a true epic, this is a much more trivial adventure with modern and ancient themes colliding in a mockery of religion. It revolves around Clarence, an underdog who is roguishly charismatic and likeable yet on a frangible spectrum. Similar to Samuel's 'The Harder They Fall", which had favourable reactions, this biblical satire serves comparable features, which can be hit or miss.

The Book of Clarence: movie offers a sceptical, comedic take on biblical  story of the lead-up to Jesus' crucifixion through the eyes of fictional  Clarence | South China Morning PostThis false messiah's journey is divided into pivotal acts or "books", furthering thematic piquancy. Each section provides context as to what will happen, even if we're prepared for the inevitable finale. Truly honing his filmmaking style, this work, compared to Samuel's other feature, feels heavier in pacing due to the conditions while substance, like the Mary Jay the protagonist often consumes, is far lighter.

From the brightest star in the sky to a burning cross on the hill, "The Book of Clarence" compares to "The Harder They Fall" in the way of a modern sound and variety and to" Monty Python and the Holy Grail" in ways of theme and humour, yet missing the most crucial substances in both. Centring this path of a supposed 13th apostle is a whimsically amusing proposition. However, it's too forced, tones and theme never aligning and Stanfield with the gargantuan task of wielding this cross up a slope. At the same time, there's surprisingly little weight, and everything feels pointless; there's no counterweight to the caricature. Romans appear as effective as public enforcement officers. Eventually, after over an hour of boredom, even the ordinarily enjoyable Omar Sy falling flat in a clear miscasting, certain exceptional cameos can't save an already burning cross. The crucifixion forces morally challenging visuals into one further mockery in an uncomfortable manner.


It was frankincense and myrrh that were brought, but not gold.