Slamdance Film Review: Little Hope Was Arson

Posted January 26, 2014 in
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Little Hope Was Arson
Slamdance Film Festival
Director: Theo Love

Theo Love’s documentary, Little Hope Was Arson, finds communities in East Texas reacting to the burning of 10 churches. The film follows the logic of law enforcement and community members discovering their churches having been torched, one by one, and the trajectory of the investigation. A central figure of the documentary is Christy McAllister, who received a lead that her brother, Daniel McAllister, was a suspect. From there, Love gradually introduces family members and church mentors of two troubled young men, Jason Bourque and Daniel, as the film gradually delves into the young men’s respective pasts. Once law enforcement sleuths their way to find enough probable cause for them to obtain warrants for the young men is where the thematic crux of the film becomes evident as the two men are taken into custody: In light of the East Texas Bible Belt’s “buckle’s” extreme Christianity, what is fair sentencing for these two men who committed these crimes in the depths of depression, but who physically harmed no one? The production value of Little Hope Was Arson is top notch, and it succeeds as an exposé in that there is no dogmatic side that the film takes, and leaves enough room for the viewer to exact her or his opinion of the matters at hand. (Not to its discredit, this film has nothing to do with black metal.)

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