Matthew Crouch’s The Cross


The Cross: The Arthur Blessitt Story
Directed by Matthew Crouch
Gener8Xion Entertainment
Opens March 27, AMC Empire 25

Imagine what an inquisitive filmmaker like Errol Morris or Werner Herzog could have done with the peculiar true-life story of Los Angeles evangelist Arthur Blessitt, the self-proclaimed “Minister of the Sunset Strip,” who, on Christmas Day 1969, decided to walk around the world carrying a 12-foot wooden cross to spread the word of Jesus. As the focus of director Matthew Crouch’s documentary, Blessitt is a fascinating character—a deeply religious man with an engaging storytelling style and a bountiful sense of humor who didn’t let ideological differences stop him from reaching out to people in war zones or impenetrable jungles. At a time when those of faith are often stigmatized in popular entertainment as bigots or imbeciles, Blessitt’s advocacy of compassionate, unconditional love is a meaningful corrective. But where Morris or Herzog might have turned Blessitt’s highly improbable 40-year journey into a thoughtful exploration of humanity’s quixotic desire to find meaning in an existence devoid of any such reassurances, The Cross opts to be a wan inspirational film that rams its Christian message down your throat—which is, ironically, the exact opposite of Blessitt’s soft-sell.


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