work by Alexis Lebrun July 29, 2022
Definitely nothing seems to be stopping the British-American actor over the past few months. After earning his second Academy Award nomination for best actor this year, he was nominated for an Emmy for his performance in a fascinating new true crime miniseries, By Order of God.
True Detective in Mormons
On this side of the Atlantic, the invocation of the Mormon religion mostly triggers amused reactions. However, it’s difficult to find even the slightest hint of humor in the series, which writer-director Dustin Lance Black dedicates to a 1984 sordid news story that shattered a very pious small town in the Mormon state of Utah. In that year, a young mother named Brenda Lafferty (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and her baby are brutally murdered in their home by people who would later claim to have acted “By the Command of God”.
If the suspicion initially goes to the husband Allen Lafferty (Billy Howle), it is his very large family – Allen has five brothers – that the investigators are quickly interested in. Because the Laffertys aren’t just any family in the community. SDL » (Latter Day Saints, Latter-day Saints): These are people who stand on the corner and rigorously apply the commandments of Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith. Perhaps a little too much, even for the liking of Jeb Pyre – the protagonist, played by Andrew Garfield, is fictional – the inspector in charge of the inquiry whose heart of faith is shattered as he descends into the meanderings of this affair, of such darkness that it sometimes reminds you of the best hours True detective.
Indeed, at the head of an unabashedly patriarchal and misogynist micro-society, the men of the Lafferty family had great difficulty welcoming the would-be victim (Brenda) into the family because of their openness and pretension: professional, at odds with a radical vision of the Mormon religion – which they nevertheless belongs. At least, that’s what we discover little by little through numerous flashbacks, as the series is divided into three temporalities: the investigation, the evolution of the Lafferty family, and the beginnings of Mormonism in the 19th century during the conquest of the West, a period that is also presented in the form of flashbacks reminiscent of the western.
Andrew Garfield touched by divine grace
It’s a genre well known to director of the first two installments, David Mackenzie, author of a 2016 critically acclaimed neo-western. Comancheria (which previously starred Gil Birmingham, the actor who portrays Jeb’s non-Mormon Paiute colleague). The main reason for the success of the series is its screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, for whom an Oscar was won in 2009 Harvey milk (Gus Van Sant, 2008) and who also signed the J.Edgar by Clint Eastwood (2011) and the queer series When we get up (2017).
Black knows the subject well at heart On behalf of Godas he was raised in a Mormon family, an expertise that has already been put to the service of the series great love (OCS), which depicted the daily life of polygamous Mormons. And like the latter, his new series can count on an exceptional cast, starting with Andrew Garfield well underway after his Oscar nomination Tick, tick… boom! (Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2021) and his brilliant role as a renegade televangelist for In the eyes of Tammy Faye (Michael Showalter, 2021).
He has a chance to share the poster with an actress who is in full blast, the excellent Daisy Edgar-Jones revealed to us by war of the Worlds (CANAL+) and become a star Thanks to the masterpiece normal people (STARZPLAY). As for Sam Worthington (Jake Sully in avatar) and Wyatt Russell (John Walker a Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+), they are absolutely terrifying in the role of poisonous males.
Because other than the relatively touching character of Andrew Garfield, Ron and Dan Lafferty existed, and their sadly fascinating story was also told in the book of the same name on which the series is based, published in 2003 by Jon Krakauer (the “author of”Into the wild). Like the book, the series portrays some adherents of Mormonism in a way that obviously wasn’t for everyone in the United States, but was no offense to those who felt offended by it. On behalf of God represents a very good gateway to understand the sources of religious fundamentalism.
On behalf of God Episodes 1 through 7 on Disney+, available with CANAL+.
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