The Book of Clarence – The DVDfever Cinema Review – LaKeith Stanfield

The Book of ClarenceThe Book of Clarence

The Book of Clarence aims to be a religious satire, in which Clarence (LaKeith StanfieldUncut Gems) – soon after, also playing his twin brother, Thomas – falls foul to Jedediah the Terrible (Eric Kofi AbrefaThe One), owing him a lot of money and being given just 30 days to repay it.

He initially states he wants to be the 13th Apostle, being told he must prove himself, one solution to be that he frees some slaves, their captor only agreeing to that if they collectively beat him to death. Hmm… tricky.

He then declares himself the new Messiah, pretending to perform miracles with some friends, including apparently raising Elijah (RJ CylerPower Rangers 2017) from the dead, even though he’s not dead, he’s just resting. This comes across as funny as stubbing your toe, as does an early scene when Clarence is being baptised by John the Baptist (David OyelowoRole Play).

Told in three parts – the last being a Crucifixion scene, which is where we come in at the start, before it goes back to the beginning of the tale – Stanfield is basically portraying himself as Jesus, everyone’s favourite mythical character, yet the only levity comes from a brief appearance from Benedict Cumberbatch (The End We Start From) as Benjamin, who actually looks like J. Christ. But then, everyone loves a bit of BenCum!

The Book of Clarence is a very dull take on the biblical tale, which just comes across as a very unfunny biblical tale! May as well watch those endless religious movies which are broadcast on TV during Easter!

Plus, as you watch, it’s as if the filmmakers thought by just having a predominantly black cast speaking these lines, it would be instantly hilarious without having to write anything funny.

To add insult to injury, while I’ve seen a few films in screen 1 at the Trafford Centre, this was the first time the picture was out of focus. I went out after a few minutes of this, as the opening credits played (text is the most obvious way of showing this problem), mentioned it to a member of staff who said he’d get someone to come and check.

About 10 minutes later (after any text had come and gone), two people did come in, watched for a few minutes, then went out and nothing changed.

In a couple of previous situations, I’ve mentioned to staff before (who were free to come back into the screen at that moment), about other screens which have been out of focus and they were corrected within a few minutes. I wondered if there might be a long-term problem.

Their answer?

    “You made the right decision in informing a member of the team and I can understand that it must have been frustrating when the focus did not improve.

    We have investigated this concern with the cinema management team, and they have confirmed that there are no issues with the projector’s focus on Screen 1.

    They have stated that no concerns were also raised regarding the focus on Sunday.”

WTF?! I certainly didn’t imagine going out to speak to someone?! I’ve challenged that, and I’ll update this when I have more information.

Overall – about the film, at least – The Book of Clarence is NOT Life of Brian, and in making this film, Stanfield isn’t the Messiah, just a very naughty boy.

The Book of Clarence is in cinemas now, and is available to pre-order on DVD, ahead of its release date TBA.

The Book of Clarence – Official Trailer – Sony Pictures Entertainment

Detailed specs:

Running time: 129 minutes
Release date: April 19th 2024
Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Cinema: Odeon Trafford Centre
Rating: 1/10

Director: Jeymes Samuel
Producers: Jay-Z (Shawn Carter), James Lassiter, Tendo Nagenda
Screenplay: Jeymes Samuel
Music: Jeymes Samuel

Clarence/Thomas: LaKeith Stanfield
Barabbas: Omar Sy
Varinia: Anna Diop
Elijah: RJ Cyler
John the Baptist: David Oyelowo
Judas Iscariot: Micheal Ward
Virgin Mary: Alfre Woodard
Mary Magdalene: Teyana Taylor
Dirty Zeke: Caleb McLaughlin
Amina: Marianne Jean-Baptiste
Jedediah the Terrible: Eric Kofi Abrefa
Pontius Pilate: James McAvoy
Benjamin: Benedict Cumberbatch
Cabbage: Chase Dillon
Jesus: Nicholas Pinnock
Asher the Torturer: Babs Olusanmokun
Goliath: Chidi Ajufo
Samson: Tuwaine Barrett
Decimus: Tom Glynn-Carney
Antoninus: Tom Vaughan-Lawlor