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Glitch in the Grid | Review

Christian Mumblecore

Part live action and stop motion animation, Glitch In The Grid is the third feature film from director Eric Leiser. Described as a magical realist film using filmmaking as a process of spiritual renewal, Leiser’s film actually resembles a homemade documentary spliced together by a group of Christian kids thinking they need to get the word out on finding Lord Jesus Christ. Flimsy, preachy, and blind to its own offensive propaganda, Leiser doesn’t seem to realize that the only thing worse than brainwashing is homegrown brainwashing cowering under the moniker of artistic endeavor.

A fictional film functioning more as a faux documentary, Glitch In The Grid portends to be about three artists struggling against the grid of society to find spiritual renewal. All three leads are playing “fictionalized” versions of their artistic selves, with brothers Jeff and Eric playing cousins to Jay Masonek, a depressed artist living in Northern California. Jeff and Eric fetch Jay from living with his parents and bring him to their place in Hollywood, where they bring him to film castings. Meanwhile, the economic crisis, which Leiser documents with real life headlines, adds to the oppression of life (the “grid”) and hampers finding employment, leading Jay into a spiritual crisis. The three “artists” find themselves at odds with their living situation. While Jay continues to struggle with his spiritual funk, both Jeff and Eric travel to New York and England to pursue relationships and artistic endeavors. Betwixt the spiritual grappling and seemingly endless “God is good” commiserations, various stop motion animation sequences arrest the narrative with a white dove that keeps popping up, a symbol of God’s Holy Spirit moving both the narrative and Jay forward into spiritual enlightenment.

There are few things more tedious and maddeningly asinine then witnessing religious pretension within the heterosexual white community. Director Eric Leiser states that Glitch In The Grid is “pushing boundaries with animation and bringing it to new platforms,” a hopelessly lofty statement that also happens to be a gross exaggeration. This film offers nothing outside of what rote Christian themed cinema already has to offer. Monotonously dull, Leiser’s screenplay suffers from dialogue like Jay stating “sometimes I feel like giving up,” though his only rationale being because he cannot live off selling his art. And a conversation on how “good things come from destruction” leads to examples like how earthquakes create fun new turf for skateboarders to utilize only demonstrates how hopelessly naïve Eric and friends are to the ways of reality. Leiser’s film stresses that finding God is more important that finding a job in the economic crisis and being financially broke is alright as long as you have God to assuage your mental turmoil. Yes, I’m sure that many people though that the recent earthquake in Japan may have, sadly, killed many people, but at least skateboarders can have a field day.

Glitch In The Grid should be viewed as an exercise in how religion is used to brainwash individuals into thinking that mediocrity is excusable and how inappropriate it is to condone the taken-for-granted mind set of the American, white heterosexual. Eric’s “character” gets married to the woman he loves. Isn’t it nice that whatever the economic crisis, whatever the spiritual questioning, whatever the artistic roadblock, he’s free to get married to the woman he loves anywhere in America? Eric Leiser’s cinema of “spiritual renewal” is nothing if not flagrantly pretentious cinematic masturbation. One can’t help but think how Leiser’s Christian propaganda only manages to be an affront to those people who have children to feed and have lost their jobs in the current economic crisis. Those individuals should demand the cost of their ticket price be returned to them.

Rating 1 stars

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Los Angeles based Nicholas Bell is's Chief Film Critic and covers film festivals such as Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and TIFF. He is part of the critic groups on Rotten Tomatoes, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and GALECA. His top 3 for 2021: France (Bruno Dumont), Passing (Rebecca Hall) and Nightmare Alley (Guillermo Del Toro). He was a jury member at the 2019 Cleveland International Film Festival.

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