Fun & Wildly Unique Genre Mash-Up

Cheekily pinching elements from any number of genres, Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway may be an early entry for this decade’s most daringly original movie. Originally hailing from Spain, filmmaker Miguel Llansó guides viewers through an indelibly surreal and unforgettable journey that is audaciously entertaining. Bizarre but masterfully directed with an eye towards grindhouse and exploitation themes, Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway is outrageous fun.

From Eurosleaze exploitation and kung fu flicks to Cold War-era b-movies knocking off James Bond, the nominal spy thriller narrative is off the wall. Not to mention its primary hero played by the diminutive Daniel Tadesse, an actor with dwarfism. All through an Afro-centric lens in a retro-futuristic setting that resembles the 1980s more than the 2030s in which it is set.

Few movies catch a jaded critic like myself by surprise with all the movies I’ve seen over the years. Having seen almost everything conceivable under the sun on the big screen, you realize almost nothing anymore is “new” and genuinely unique. This movie shatters that preconceived notion with a fresh filmmaking style that should brand it an instant cult classic. This is like nothing ever seen before, a parody beyond parody without losing its distinctively mesmerizing style.

.Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway is a delight with innovative visuals

Llansó constructs Jesus Shows The Way To The Highway with dazzling visuals that traipse through different exploitation and cult cinema tropes. Brilliantly put together like an explosion of genre bits placed together in collage, the taut narrative moves from one crazy set piece to the next as the hero encounters “villains” such as Batfro, a corrupt president running around in a cheap Adam West-Batman costume.

Special Agent Gagano (Daniel Tadesse) of the CIA plans to walk away from his dangerous job and start a second life with his wife Malin (Gerda-Annette Allikas). She wants to open a kickboxing academy, while Gagano has more of an interest in starting a pizzeria.

Those plans go up in smoke when a virus code-named Stalin attacks the CIA’s worldwide operating system amusingly titled Psychobook. Put in deep sleep, Gagano’s conscious mind gets trapped inside the virtual reality on a deadly spy mission against the virus. There he must survive through an increasingly bizarre series of realities within cyberspace that begin affecting the real world’s political order. Targeted by Stalin, Gagano fights to get back home.

Intelligently put together with superb pacing, Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway is a delight with innovative visuals. Those visuals are put together with meticulous care. Funny, outrageous and a blast of outlandish energy, the skewed film crackles with vibrant life.

More than a homage to the genres it spoofs and lampoons, the movie almost creates a new genre unto itself. The retro-futuristic vibe and b-movie ethos that permeates the entire production is a wonderful touch.

Video

Arrow Video provides a faithful reproduction of the movie in a strong Blu-ray presentation. Jesus Shows You The Way To The Highway actually comes in a couple different aspect ratios. The primary 1.85:1 presentation contains a few scenes in Academy ratio. The main feature is encoded in perfect AVC, the 82-minute movie gets its own BD-50.

The striking direction and creative visuals are heavily influenced by grindhouse cinematography. It has lively, crisp video that has a retro vibe. At times it’s hard believing this film was shot just two years ago. Grain and texture are nicely replicated with film-like detail.

Audio

An enjoyable 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack in poorly dubbed English has several engaging sonic moments. The poor English dub is a conscious choice fitting the movie’s tone and intended style. There’s enough surround activity for the spy and action genre. This is not a dense, overly active surround mix but the front soundstage has a solid presence.

Optional English SDH subtitles appear in a white font.

Extras

Arrow Video puts out another classy limited edition for an unheralded genre flick, including director Miguel Llansó’s first movie Crumbs on a second BD with its own set of special features. The two-disc set comes in a white case with a slipcover.

This entire set is really a nice collection collecting all of Miguel Llansó’s output so far as a filmmaker. It is limited to 2000 sets and the Blu-ray is coded for regions A & B. Arrow Video also released it in the UK.

The package comes with a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Austin Hinderliter, a huge double-sided fold-out poster, and an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway by Barry Forshaw and Crumbs by Anton Bitel. One of Arrow Video’s art cards for another release is also included.

Special Features:

  • Audio Commentary by critics Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Anton Bitel
  • From Talinn With Love (13:49 in HD) – A new visual essay by critic Will Webb exploring the influence of exploitation cinema on Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway.
  • Audio interview with director Miguel Llansó (25:50 in HD) – Conducted by critic Josh Hurtado.
  • Crumbs (71:03 in HD; 5.1 DTS-HD MA Amharic w/ optional English subtitles) – Miguel Llansó’s 2015 feature directorial debut and spiritual predecessor to Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway (Limited Edition Exclusive).
  • Chigger Ale (11:34 in HD) – Early 2013 short from director Miguel Llansó.
  • Night in the Wild Garden (06:37 in HD) – 2015 short film by Miguel Llansó.
  • Original proof-of-concept trailer (03:33)
  • Theatrical Trailer (02:00 in HD)
  • Image gallery (20:51 in HD) – A massive trove of production shots that play on their own.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Jesus Shows You the Way to the Highway
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
5

Movie

A massively original mash-up of exploitation tropes in a retro-futuristic spy thriller that is loads of fun.

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4 (1 vote)

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