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FX’s Under the Banner of Heaven is a shocking, fascinating study of faith | TV / streaming

Using its nuanced emphasis on faith, “Under the Flag of Heaven” gradually depicts in extensive flashback how their paths became so monstrous. The performances that are sometimes too overzealous in their manic nature – like how Culkin transforms into complete mania and guttural spears. (It does not help that we only later see the connective tissue of how these changes occurred in later episodes.) And while Worthington is particularly stiff in a role that also requires him to be gradually outrageous. , gives Wyatt Russell the excellent performance here. He uses his sales-ready warmth and sometimes crackling voice to illustrate the growth of thinking, from why he should not pay taxes, to why he should have more wives. Like his father, he can easily claim a challenge from Heavenly Father as just more fuel for his destructive fire.

“Under the Banner of Heaven” revolves around its expansive story of toxic faith with the rhythm of a page-turner in true crime, thanks to its growing list of witnesses providing more and more background, and its select moments of action. Courtney Hunt (“Frozen River”) has a sure touch to tense distances that end in revealing conversations, and David Mackenzie (“Hell or High Water”) adds fire to scenes largely built up from police interrogations, while that he creates a robust cop buddy chemistry between Garfield and Birmingham’s creepy, non-religious outsider Bill Taba. Meanwhile, the planning remains tight, motivated by a mystery about the possible suspects seen in Brenda and Allen’s home, along with the uncertainty of where certain Lafferty brothers have disappeared into the modern timeline.

The series is so expansive that it even takes time to tell the story of Joseph Smith, his wife Emma, ​​and the rival prophet Brigham Young, which are told in significant pieces throughout. Used to complement what Laffertys has come to believe, these reflections can feel more sinister and eye-opening than the usual History Channel-clear passages they resemble in production value. It’s more that the editing may be overzealous in flashing back between them, as if overemphasizing how these stories all overlap but disorient the viewer in the process. It’s easy to imagine “Under the banner of heaven” without these moments, or in so many details. But they prove part of the show’s own struggle with Mormonism, and its intricate, though often awful, bill with messengers using the message to serve themselves.

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