Jesus Kid Image

Jesus Kid

By Jason Delgado | August 2, 2022

True originality is difficult to find in big studio films, which is why indie movies are so crucial to support in this day and age. One of the last remaining vestiges of such creativity in Tinseltown, the Coen brothers (Joel and Ethan), have such a unique style of subverting and mixing genres while using dark humor that I have not seen Hollywood duplicate it. That is surprising as the Coens have been quite successful.

Director Aly Muritiba’s Brazilian production Jesus Kid is heavily influenced by the Coen brothers, specifically Barton Fink, referencing the film several times throughout. So, does this drama, written by Muritiba, Laura Malin, and Lourenço Mutarelli, have the same Coen brothers magic? The strangeness of it all comes close.

The film follows a Western author named Eugenio (Paulo Miklos), who has a semi-popular series of novels about a cowboy named the Jesus Kid, but his book sales are now dwindling. Eugenio gets a meeting with a producer named Maximo (Fabio Silvestre) and a director, Fabio (Gabriel Gorosito), about making a movie, which he naturally thinks will be his chance to make a Western film about the Jesus Kid. The writer is disappointed to learn that instead, they want to make a movie about him writing a script, a la Barton Fink. They want it packed with action and romance, and all the while, Eugenio is flustered and stupefied by this odd request, which Maximo mistakes for enthusiasm for the project.

“…the script is his best option and, per the conditions of the filmmakers, sequesters himself in a hotel for three months…”

Eugenio then has a meeting with his book publisher (he watches intently as a worker takes down posters for the Jesus Kid in the hallway of the office) and is told by his editor-in-chief Walter (Mauro Zanatta) that they are being bought out by the government and becoming a Christian publisher. Olavo (Helio Barboso), a general from the IICC (Ideological Integrity Control Center), also wants Eugenio to ghost-write a biography for the President of Brazil. Beside himself, Eugenio decides that the script is his best option and, per the conditions of the filmmakers, sequesters himself in a hotel for three months, without leaving for any reason. This is where he meets some oddball characters, such as the front desk person Chet (Leandro Daniel), a romantic interest simply known as the Nurse (Maureen Miranda), and his own creation, the Jesus Kid (Sergio Marone), comes to life.

Miklos does a fantastic job of playing the bewildered comedic lead of Jesus Kid (reminding me of the legendary funnyman Don Knotts), who is constantly thrown strange curveballs, but still somehow chugs along. The rest of the cast, especially Leandro Daniel, do their part to keep the zany flavor of it all going. Besides the obvious Coen love, the script also has some of The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent flavor to it because the characters like to talk about what they want in their screenplay, and then it unfolds in the film that the audience is watching.

The ending of Jesus Kid feels a bit weak and cobbled together to me, and as a whole, it doesn’t quite reach the level of the Coen brothers’ absurd creativity. Nonetheless, the film is a strange enough, fun, meta-movie industry ride with a humorous flair.

Jesus Kid is available on the IndiePix channel on Amazon Prime and other VOD outlets.

Jesus Kid (2022)

Directed: Aly Muritiba

Written: Aly Muritiba, Laura Malin, Lourenço Mutarelli

Starring: Paulo Miklos, Gabriel Gorosito, Fabio Silvestre, Helio Barboso, Leandro Daniel, Maureen Miranda, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Jesus Kid Image

"…a strange enough, fun, meta-movie industry ride with a humorous flair."

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