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Gambling, Gods And LSD
15Gambling, Gods And LSD (2004)

updated 21 January 2004
reviewer's rating
2 out of 5
Reviewed by Jamie Russell


Director
Peter Mettler
Writer
Peter Mettler
Length
180 minutes
Distributor
ICA
Cinema
30 January 2004
Country
Canada
Genre
Documentary


Despite its attention-grabbing title, this isn't a film about gambling, religion, or hallucinogenic pharmaceuticals. It's actually a long-winded trawl through over 55 hours of footage shot by experimental filmmaker Peter Mettler between 1997 and 1999. Even shorn down to a mere three hours running time, it makes for agonisingly tedious viewing, as Mettler travels the globe interviewing religious worshippers, heroin addicts, porn store workers, and Las Vegas gamblers in an attempt to catalogue mankind's obsession with reaching a higher spiritual plane.

With its loose (the less charitable might say "haphazard") structure, Gambling, Gods And LSD mimics the mind-altering, flattened out monotony of an acid trip with a series of languorous scenes based around all the weird people Mettler has rounded up for interviews.

There's the evangelical Christian woman who describes seeing Jesus at a church gathering accompanied by a host of Grim Reapers armed with scythes to cut down the congregation "like a field of wheat". Then there's the Las Vegas inventor of an electronic orgasm chair that will apparently take users to new heights of pleasure (sadly we don't get to see its carefully calibrated mechanism in operation). As for the man who keeps the bones of his dead wife wrapped in a scarf to be displayed on the poker table between hands of five card stud, the less said the better.

"UNRELATED SEGMENTS NEVER MADE CLEAR"

Quite what the point of these unrelated segments are is never made clear. What is apparent, though, is Mettler's portentous/pretentious (delete as appropriate) belief in his own artistry.

Interspersing the gaps between each segment with a selection of natural imagery that includes bubbling brooks, floating clouds and falling leaves, he seems to be doing nothing but marking time for the sake of it. Suffused with a hippy-trippy blend of religious reverence and artistic bombast, there's only one-way to appreciate this garbled mess: Turn on. Tune in. Drop off.

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