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Under the Banner of Heaven: Murder tale is a killer for religious beliefs

© SYSTEMGil Birmingham and Andrew Garfield in Under The Banner Of Heaven
Gil Birmingham and Andrew Garfield in Under The Banner Of Heaven

Sneering at religious fundamentalism is quite easy, and therefore also quite enjoyable.

We have our own particular brand in Scotland, revolving around archaic insults at football matches and marching around to the sound of drums and shattering glass bottles, which are quite different from what they have in Utah.

Things there might appear more civilised; Under The Banner Of Heaven argues differently.

Andrew Garfield is Jeb Pyre, the buttoned-up detective investigating the murder of a mother and her baby daughter in the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints, of which he is a member.

Although this ponderous thriller shares DNA with True Detective, Pyre is the clean-shaven, sober inversion of Matthew McConaughey’s shabby, LSD-fried philosopher.

He is immaculately dressed, baulks at coffee and swearing and, in a brief moment of apostasy, scoffs some curly fries out of sight of his brethren.

You can imagine how a double murder goes down in world where a spiral chip is a sign of moral decay; these lads don’t exactly put the fun into fundamentalism.

Pyre thoughtfully picks through a complex whorl of characters ranging from good, Godly people to those twisted by belief, attempting to maintain a hold of their world, even as it shatters in their grip.


Under The Banner Of Heaven, Disney+