Jesus is King, directed by Nick Knight and produced by Kanye West, is a sensory baptism into the neo-Christian experience that is Sunday Service. Knight flourishes in curating abstract scenes to encapsulate the accompanying gospel sound track. The cinematography is minimalistic and draws parallels to the rawness of the unedited vocals that echo throughout the 38 minute run time. The use of a spotlight camera allows Knight to restrain the viewers’ focus to certain elements of a scene, which although innovative seems counter-intuitive as it restricts the capabilities of IMAX.
At such short length, Jesus is King sacrifices a story line and allows the atmosphere to breathe life into the production. The combination of long cuts with repetitive choir harmonies give the film a near meditative, transcendent quality. However, at times these longer cuts and drawn out pauses can over stay their welcome.
The vibrant colour pallet is deliberate, royal blues to represent deity and earthy tones that are inspired by the YEEZY brand. In terms of musicality the production uses alternate versions of what made the Jesus Is King album, a version of “Selah” is played throughout the introduction which fuses the track we have with harder drums and a more emphatic delivery.
Several songs are performed from the polarising 808s & Heartbreak including “Streetlights”- an album that displays strong thematic parallels to the new JIK, with its lack of swearing and mellow atmosphere. The IMAX sound system compliments the soundtrack and takes listening to a new level.
Although aesthetically the film is impressive, it does almost seem like an unnecessary addition to building the hype that JIK did not live up to. It is unclear what exactly Kanye is trying to tell the audience with this piece and it is definitely not an essential viewing for the average listener.
By Harry North