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September 7, 2010

Waiting for Armageddon

by Franz Patrick

Waiting for Armageddon (2009)
★ / ★★★★

I may never accept the radical beliefs of Christian Evangelicals regarding Armageddon or any of their methods but I hoped that I would learn something slightly profound from this documentary. Kate Davis, David Heilbroner and Franco Sacchi, the directors, didn’t have laser-like focus in the way they presented the arguments from the big picture so I was periodically left confused. Since the movie was only about an hour and ten minutes long, it constantly jumped from one issue to another such as how religious extremists were committing self-fulfilling prophecies, concerns about what would happen to Israel once God returned, and the tension between Israel and the Muslim world. It gave me the feeling that perhaps the movie was more designed toward people who didn’t know much about Evangelicals and their beliefs, not toward people who wanted grasp at information beyond the obvious. The film didn’t go into too much depth so it became redundant in terms of the individuals being interviewed essentially saying the same thing but with differing words. However, I felt a certain sadness in a few scenes such as when some of the teenagers interviewed who believed that the end of the world was coming expressed how they wished they could live full lives without having to worry about the end of the world and how it’s not fair that the end will pretty much happen in their lifetime. It also made me feel angry because I couldn’t help but think they were simply being brain-washed and all their worrying would pretty much amount to nothing. In a way, I thought their wasted youth was something to almost mourn about. Worse, they could pass on the paranoia to their own children and then their children will go through the same fears. Although I thought the movie was difficult to watch because of the opinions being expressed, I found it more frustrating that the movie didn’t have a natural flow so that it would be easy to follow. It certainly had potential to be really engaging because of such a controversial topic but it really needed to work on its pacing and the order it presented its ideas. Still, “Waiting for Armageddon” surprised me because I initially thought that the goal of the picture was to support the radical beliefs of its subjects. It wasn’t the case. It may seem like it does support its subjects’ radical beliefs in the first few minutes because the directors allowed the Evangelicals to really speak at the camera without holding back, but it ultimately allowed us to form our own opinions in the matter.


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