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Keith Allen Will Burn in Hell (2007)

TV Movie  -   -  Documentary  -  21 June 2007 (UK)
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Keith Allen visits Westboro Baptist Church to confront them about their extreme religious beliefs.


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Title: Keith Allen Will Burn in Hell (TV Movie 2007)

Keith Allen Will Burn in Hell (TV Movie 2007) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Credited cast:
Himself - Presenter
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Steve Drain ...
Malcolm Hardee ...
Himself (archive footage)
K. Ryan Jones ...
Himself (as Ryan Jones)
Fred Phelps ...
Himself (archive footage)
Margie Phelps ...
Timothy Phelps ...
Himself (as Tim Phelps)
Megan Phelps-Roper ...
Samuel Phelps-Roper ...
Himself (as Sam Phelps-Roper)
Shirley Phelps-Roper ...
Raubin Pierce ...


Keith Allen visits Westboro Baptist Church to confront them about their extreme religious beliefs.

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21 June 2007 (UK)  »

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A terribly pointless documentary that is very much in the image of Allen - a pathetic joke throughout
12 July 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Westborough Baptist Church believe that America is condemned by God because of its acceptance of homosexuality and rejection of His true teaching. The members of the church are overwhelmingly from one family – the Phelps family under the tutelage of Pastor Phelps – father or grandfather to many of the group. Devout atheist (and father of Lilly) Keith Allen cannot understand why anyone follows religion, far less a religion so twisted, and sets off to America to meet up with the family and spend some time with them.

You gotta feel sorry for the makers of this programme (even if Keith Allen is one of them). Not only has the UK already had one documentary about the Westborough Baptist Chursh, but it was a good one – by Louis Theroux….and this one has Keith Allen in it. Any wonder this one has been held back for a few months and then dropped out on a late slot with little or no publicity (as opposed to the Theroux one that was sold by the BBC for weeks before screening). Watching it, I can understand why because, although the subject is the same, this film is very much the opposite of Theroux's film. It starts by saying exactly what angle it is coming from and it never deviates from that – Allen is not really exploring these people, he has turned up with his opinions and agenda and he is hammering it home scene by scene.

Sadly this is not even done in an intelligent way (there is nothing wrong with a thesis or a polemic) as Allen pulls faces behind the backs of his subjects and has silly fights with them. He plays a clip of a Fox News presenter having a squawking fight with the mother of the group but then a few scenes later he has a fight with the daughter (a very young woman) that never gets above a "I know you are but what am I?" level. Allen relies heavily on a "bombshell" that he trails heavily throughout the film but when it comes it is delivered like a wet fish in the face. The fact that the mother had a child out of wedlock over 20 years ago is well handled by the family and they simply point out that the Bible does preach repentance and change – she is not proud of what she did but points this out. Given that forgiveness is central to the Bible, one has to assume that Allen's "bombshell" is only aimed at people like him, who are already against religion and have the same arrogant "ah – got you" attitude that he has.

In truth, Allen is the problem with the film throughout. He has an easy target as a subject but as writer, director, narrator and presenter, he is clumsy, oafish and lazy. He never allows his subjects to speak and, when they have a point that he cannot answer, he simply swaggers around cockily pretending not to listen – indeed seconds after dropping his bombshell he heads out for a smoke and moans about the mother following him to continue the discussion. Indeed the end of the film completely misfires as the mother calmly says "you're just throwing out words now, there is no discipline in your conversation" in response to Allen talking about "pooh-holes" and being tongued. It is hard to adequately describe but it is embarrassing to watch him fumble the ball and I surprised that he did it to the point where he came off looking worse than the Church members – at least they could discuss their points like adults (albeit misguided, hate-filled adults).

So I do feel sorry for those behind the scenes making this film because it does seem like Allen has loomed large over the film and nobody has been able to (or tried) to rope him in and make an intelligent film. It does really hurt to watch to see it fall down and, compared to the much more patient and intelligent film from Theroux, this just looks like a collection of puerile jokes and childish name calling. Louis Theroux expertly allowed the logic and believes of the Church to be exposed and hung out in a bright light for all to see. Keith Allen simply blunders in and is caught completely unawares by the mother of the family who, despite being totally insane in her beliefs, manages to come off as the more balanced and reasonable of the two when discussing things on cameras – that is quite an achievement but not one that Allen should be proud of. I think he recognises this though and thus bolsters himself with a mocking and lazy narration where the edit room gives him the power to shape the interviews the best he can – but still comes off looking bad.

A car crash of a documentary that sets out to attack the Westborough Baptist Church but only achieves in making Allen look like a fool who doesn't seem to know what he is doing and seems to have no plan or interest in his subject. Ignore this film and instead seek out Louis Theroux's "The Most Hated Family in America" for a grownup and intelligent look at the subject – this, on the other hand, is just tat; utter tat.

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