As unbelievably wild and wacky Miguel Llanso’s latest film, Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway is, a part of the plot to the movie is literally spelled out for you in the title. There is a half insect/half man cult leader turned man named Jesus Christ aka Roy Mascarone (Guillermo Llansó) who does in fact show CIA agent (?) D.T. Gagano (Daniel Tadesse) exactly how to get on the highway. HOWEVER, that is put a tiny drop in the ocean of strange complexity that is Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway.
First of all, one is not really sure what the timeframe of the film is. Is it the distant future, the past, is it even in this reality? One thing’s for sure, the USSR still exists, and Joseph Stalin is a computer virus trying to take over the world. CIA agents must go into a virtual reality video game to try to stop them. When agents Gagano and Palmer Eldritch (Augustín Mateo) are in the game, they are faceless humanoids with paper masks, Gagano’s designed with Richard Pryor’s face. Their movements in the video game world are also captured in stop-motion, and they can contact their guide to the outside world Jiminy (Aris Rozentals) via an Alec Guinness worthy hologram device.
“Jesus has told D.T. that this is all a hallucination and that they were in hospital beds at MIT in 1997. Who can be sure?”
Then there’s the sub-plot of pizza-obsessed D.T. Gagano wanting to quit the agency life at the urging of his wife Malin (Gerda-Annette Allikas) who wants to open her own kickboxing academy while D.T. wants to open a pizzeria. There’s also an assumption that D.T. is in a coma and living in a portable tv after being attacked by Stalin and company. Palmer and Malin have an affair while this is happening, or do they? Jesus has told D.T. that this is all a hallucination and that they were in hospital beds at MIT in 1997. Who can be sure?
This film is undoubtedly one of the weirdest genre cinema free for all, that I have seen possibly ever. It combines elements of so many genres: martial-arts, spy movies, superheroes..and this is just in the Batfro (Solomon Tashe) storyline. Yes, there is a character named Batfro who may also be the president of the United States? I’m not sure. The point is that the plot is a bit of a meta-reference to the ridiculous twist-filled B movies of the 70s and 80s, all while adopting the same aesthetic. There’s bits of Jack Hill, Roger Corman, The Shaw Brothers, and more whisking around in the same blender of genre celebration. It’s almost as if Harmony Korine went back in time to make a version of Inception with some help from Lloyd Kaufman, David Lynch, and Jess Franco, replete with the classic semi-mismatched English dubbing. It’s weird y’all. For this reason, I am already putting in on my list of top movies of the year, because it’s so damn inventive.
“This film is undoubtedly one of the weirdest genre cinema free for all, that I have seen…”
Seriously, if you find yourself as a fan of Kung Fury, Stranger Things or any of the plethora of genre nostalgia media that is out there right now, you would be doing yourself a disservice by missing out on Miguel Llanso’s magnum opus. I can’t fail to mention that it was a Kickstarter-Funded film that was shot all over the world and has production credits from Latvia, Estonia, Ethiopia, and Spain. You may wonder what the hell you just saw when you finish Jesus… but that’s the fun of the whole thing. I’m probably going to watch it a few more times to catch all the in-jokes and weirdness. It’s absolutely worth multiple viewings. So get started as soon as you can!
Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway (2019) Written and Directed by Miguel Llansó. Starring Daniel Tadesse, Guillermo Llansó, Augustín Mateo, Gerda-Annette Allikas, Solomon Tashe, Lauri Lagle, Rene Köster, Iveta Pole, Aris Rozentals. Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway screened at Fantasia International Film Festival.
10 out of 10 stars