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God Memoirs, The - Abortion Bin Productions Print E-mail
User Rating: / 3
Written by Ray Casta   
Friday, 11 January 2008

Directed by: Brian Hirschbine
Written by: Brian Hirschbine
Produced by: Brian Hirschbine
Cinematography by: Brian Hirschbine
Editing by: Brian Hirschbine
Music by: Bob Baldwin, Infamous Killer Bees
Special Effects by: Brian Hirschbine
Cast: Brandon Hursell, Jason Toth, Bridgette Bolliver, Megan Dwyer,
Anastasia Mangel
Year: 2005
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 136 min

Distribution: Abortion Bin Productions

"A new God will be no better than Man, as Man is no better than the old God", says a 30-something serial killer (Brandon Hursell) in Brian Hirschbine's "The God Memoirs".  The film opens to him in his basement, sitting at a desk.  It looks as if he is working on something and when the contents on the desk are revealed, we see him carefully sewing a slab of flesh cut off his latest victim's chest.  In the background, we hear the sounds of crying and pleading.  It's his latest victim, who is tied to a bloody mattress, begging for him to spare her life.  It's certainly a ghastly sight as she has been cut up very badly.  As she looks down at her mutilated body, she screams: "What have you done to me?"  With a rather calm appearance, the killer cowers over her.  He doesn't look as if he feels mercy, or a least bit of remorse for what he has done.  He treats his poor victim like an ant or cockroach, by stomping on her head violently.  Her cries cease.  She is dead.  The killer doesn't think anything of it, and he's so calm about committing murder, it's scary.

Brian Hirschbine's feature debut shows enough ambition, though it never once becomes a more than a fairly interesting idea and thus, becomes a wasted opportunity for a first-time filmmaker.  Told from the eyes of a serial killer, "The God Memoirs" suffers from a lack of character development.  There is little to no depth and by its lack of insight, the material suffers a great deal and that's a damn shame considering the film's overall potential.  It's more like a brave one-man performance with the killer and his monologues directly addressing the camera.  In a way, "The God Memoirs" is somewhat like Bill Paxton's "Frailty" (2001) in the way it dares to contrast religion with utter insanity.  That is very daring and difficult for any director to do.  Hirschbine dares to do such a thing.  What he misses is subtlety and theme, both of which are important in a film quite like this one.  Without any substance, a whole entire theme (ex: "loss of faith") is unfortunately wasted, and it then becomes one person performing in front of the camera and rambling on and on.

The monologues by the killer are set in nature as he spends time in tranquil surroundings in order to reflect on human existence.  He addresses the loss of faith, stemming from his disgust of corruption in humanity.  That he is still able to find beauty in the world assures him there is still hope.  There is a lack of accessible plot or story and this primarily stems from the anonymous killer's "memoirs", or recollections.  He is clearly a psychopath with murderous tendencies, but realistically, a loss of our faith is something we deal with in our everyday lives.  When we lose a loved one, we wonder about a reason as to why he/she was taken away from us.  When we watch the news, we wonder about why a young and innocent young girl is raped, murdered, etc.  We often change our views on society and the world when we hear about such tragedy on the news.  The killer lost his faith and he chose to do something about it by trying to rid the world of sinners.  Interactions with victims are too distant, and they seem as if there is no motive.  They are on screen for nearly two minutes before they are killed, and the killer barely utters a word.

Brandon Hursell rarely has much to do in his role of the killer.  His character basically delivers many monologues, one after the other, and there are intercuts with him killing various victims.  He believes God's powers (control) were adapted by humans into our behavior.  His monologues serve as insight towards his characterization yet become wearisome when the repetition is blatant.  In a movie which runs for about 136 minutes, it feels as if it deserved a tighter narrative and edit.  "The God Memoirs", though ambitious, meanders and fumbles in searching for a strong foundation.  Credit certainly must be given for the attempt at uniqueness.  The score adds a creepy ambience to the visuals, and all of its potential is why one expects it to amount to something special.  When violence is intended to be realistic, its portrayal comes across as a bit forced to convince.  There is a fatal beating with a frying pan.  In the same scene, a child is shown stabbed to death.  Scene fades to black, then viewers are subjected to the scary sight of a child stabbed and dying, crawling towards his bloodied mother.  It's moments like these when Hirschbine dares to cross a line, but every time violence is shown, he cuts away and waits for the aftermath.

While "The God Memoirs" strives for a different take on the serial killer film, it wastes its opportunity, especially by resorting to repetitive monologues and missing any chance of characterization into the person the killer truly is.  Credit is given for its unique take, indefinitely.  There is a "god" the killer is assembling, through various parts of his victims and that creation alone marks a morbid curiosity in my book in an inspired climax, where the killer sacrifices a helpless victim to his supposed "god".  If "The God Memoirs" was filled with such inspired creativity, it'd be more than an idea of mere interest and originality.

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