The Book of Clarence - Review (London Film Festival 2023)
Knowledge is Stronger Than Belief. 4 / 5
Directed by Jeymes Samuel.
Captivated by the power and glory of the rising Messiah and His apostles, Clarence risks everything to carve his own path to a divine life.
Jeymes Samuel returns with his follow-up to the slick western The Harder They Fall with an epic of biblical proportions in The Book of Clarence.
Lakeith Stanfield leads this remix of the Old Testament in a story akin to a modern reimagining of Monty Python's Life of Brian with a fantastic soundtrack and distinctive visual style to match. It tries to achieve a lot in a short amount of time - telling a familiar story with a twist that focuses more on the crisis of faith yet never attacks or belittles the source material.
Samuel's visceral filming style lens itself to this larger than life story with a substantial cast and vast environments to transport you not only to this historic setting but through an inventive lens. The power of the cast takes this film to a new level with LaKeith Stanfield and Omar Sy leading the cast, outshining strong British names like James McAvoy and Benedict Cumberbatch.
The Book of Clarence has such a unique energy that for the most part keeps a stable tonal balance, perhaps running away with itself a touch in its ambitious final act. A film that doesn't take itself too seriously which allows it to take bold risks with a carefree and admirable confidence.