Brian Flemming's The God Who Wasn't There falls into the newish classification of highly opinionated documentary ("op-doc"?) foregoing a more balanced presentation in favor of overt agenda-pushing. Still, the agenda in question is one that's been given precious little voice lately: atheism, or, more specifically, questioning the true origins of Christianity. So, did Jesus exist? Flemming, a former hardcore fundamentalist, taps his sense of humor (deadpan narration; a rapid-fire, Hollywoodized race through the life of Jesus; adding up all the acts of violence in The Passion of the Christ) and the talking heads of authors, historians, and folklorists to state his case. He also visits his devoutly Christian alma mater and lobs faith-vs.-science questions at its stone-faced superintendent. The God Who Wasn't There may not make "the perfect holiday gift" (as it's cheekily advertised on the film's Web site, www.thegodmovie.com) for the millions of evangelicals who are pretty much running the show in America these days, but it's thought-provoking enough to maybe crack open a few closed minds. DVD extras include extended interviews and an "Explore the Myth" slide show that expands on the film's themes; the two commentary tracks are actually audio interviews conducted by Flemming.
For ordering info, visit the film's distributor, San Francisco label Blackchair DVD, at www.blackchair.com. (Cheryl Eddy)