Apostasy - This Movie Rocks The Fellowship
Dir: Daniel Kokotajio
Starring Siobhan Finneran, Sacha Parkinson, Molly Wight, Robert Emms
Given that its title refers to a follower who has renounced a religion, the intent of writer-director Kokotajio film is made quite clear. His approach as a director may well be extremely precise and decidedly formal, but his movie is scripted in a far angrier, yet controlled, tone.
Apostasy offers a glimpse inside the world of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, and for those that know them merely from refusing blood transfusions and trying to sell The Watchtower on your doorstep – my, but they’re an apocalyptic bunch. Finneran is the mum of two young daughters, brought up within the fellowship who finds both her family and beliefs thrown into doubt when her youngest, Luisa (Parkinson) is found to be fornicating with an outsider and is expelled from the Fellowship, and, in following tradition, from her home as well. As she becomes pregnant, and her sister’s illness, returns, their mother must struggle with choices between family, Fellowship, and love and understanding.
Kokotajio draws strong performances from all three of his female leads, yet keeps everything at the level of a quiet pressure cooker trying desperately not to boil over. He presents the ways of the Witnesses almost matter of factly, whilst clearly laying down strong criticism against their fundamental beliefs, even as he allows them to damn themselves through their own rhetoirc.
It’s a powerful piece that enlightens as much as it unsettles. And intentionally so. You may never look at a copy of The Watchtower the same way ever again.
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