New Jerusalem | Chicago Reader

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94 minutes · 2012

Small-town grease monkeys grope for spiritual transcendence in this wan, uneventful indie drama (2011). Colm O'Leary is Sean, an Irish immigrant to the U.S. who's returned from a year serving in Afghanistan and suffers from some unspecified trauma; Will Oldham is Ike, not the sharpest knife in the drawer but an ardent Christian who wants Sean to feel the rapture (and then the Rapture). The movie is undeniably sincere, but it's oblique to the point of being opaque; director Rick Alverson (The Comedy), who wrote the film with O'Leary, seems to respect the men's spirituality, but he hasn't particularized either of them enough to give it substance.

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