Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Gene Jones - Film

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Gene Jones - Film

By Rych McCain International/Nationally Syndicated  Entertainment Columnist
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Gene Jones

Hauntingly Portrays Cult Leader Jim Jones!

Photo Courtesy of Magnet Release


     Film maker Ti West is best know for his mastery in the horror film genre and true to his craftsmanship he has come up with another mouth watering gem with his latest offering titled “The Sacrament” which is based on the final days of The People’s Temple Cult in a jungle buried deep in the South American country of Guyana. In 1978 Cult leader The Rev. Jim Jones ordered a mass suicide/murder of over 900 cult members my forcing them to drink a poisoned cool aid type of drink, poison injections and even gun shots. The dead included men, women and children as well as Jones himself who was said to have shot himself. The cult had its start in California and Jones convinced his members to surrender everything i.e., turning over their house deeds, social security checks to anything else of value and giving it to the cult. Jones took the money and purchased several acres of land in a remote jungle in Guyana. Then he had his select group move there with him where he set up a commune. Eventually the wheels came off of the wagon. 

"Eden Parish" cult followers
West made this film in a documentary-style but kept it very real. As he stated, “I didn’t want to make a movie about mindless psycho cult members, I wanted to make a movie where people could relate to the cult members and maybe not agree with everything they say/do, but understand how and why their lives would lead them to be a part of this community. I find cults fascinating, personally, and hopefully I can provoke people to think more about what draws people into that type of bizarre lifestyle.” 

Gene Jones as cult leader "Father"

      Actor Gene Jones is the film’s cult leader and is known simply as “Father.” He is the last word on everything in the commune. Jones gives such a bone-chilling rendition of the real life Jim Jones that he literally brings him back to life. He even heavily resembles the real Jim Jones. For those who survived the real life People’s Temple, this may trigger some very deep emotions as actor Jones is so close to the real thing like Forest Whitaker was with his surreal portrayal of Ugandan strong man Idi Amin in “Last King Of Scotland” that garnered him an Oscar; Jones himself should have the same honor with an Oscar for this incredible delivery.
     When asked if he studied the late Jim Jones, Jones just shook his head and said “no.” He never worked with Ti before or for that fact, didn’t even know him so what were the magic ingredients that fostered his brilliant performance? Jones sits back with his relaxed personality and explains, “Ti gave me the freedom to go where I wanted to go which was in the direction of being so damn trustworthy and so avuncular and nice. A phrase that popped up in my head was ‘I wanted to show you somebody who was evil but not mean,’ somebody who believed absolutely poisonous things but was the nicest fellow you ever met.” 

     Jones certainly achieved that and more with a performance that will stand the test of time amongst great cinema scenes and moments. This project will hopefully give Ti West a bigger film recognition feather in his cap as well.

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