2015 / Director. Richard Wolstencroft.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
THE SECOND COMING VOLUME 1 is a subversive film that does away with the straightforward narrative and offers the audience a genuinely surreal and eclectic marriage of ideas. It is a story about characters and their entanglements with the occult, and the film follows their exploits with a fragmented and episodic structure.
Director Richard Wolstencroft shot some of the film simultaneously with his previous feature-length documentary THE LAST DAYS OF JOE BLOW and used that project as a sort of stepping-stone to this new experimentation. JOE BLOW’s subject and star, Michael Tierney, re-teams with Wolstencroft as a man on a personal quest to evoke the second coming. We follow him and a handful of other characters as they flirt with mysticism and powers that they cannot entirely comprehend. We begin in a North American desert before being whisked away to Thailand, followed by Europe and Australia as the story hop-scotches its way around the globe.
Describing THE SECOND COMING VOL 1 is not easily done. It’s not a film that you simply watch, but rather, one that you experience. Blending a documentary style aesthetic with a deliberately disjointed narrative Wolstencroft presents a collage of concepts inspired by the work of W.B Yeats and leaves much of the story open to interpretation. Of course being the first volume of two, there is much more to come, and no doubt the individual stories will align and form a comprehensive vision.
The film plays almost like a marriage of ideas from the likes of David Lynch and Richard Stanley, and in fact, Stanley’s film THE SECRET GLORY was in the back of my mind the whole time. My own personal response to THE SECOND COMING VOL 1 was very similar to how I react to Stanley’s work. There’s a deep and dark beauty to what’s on the screen and the incendiary nature of the material is provocative. I walked away from it knowing that I was affected by it but I also needed time to process it. THE SECOND COMING VOL 1 is Richard Wolstencrofts best work to date as far as I'm concerned. With the montaged structure and philosophical expression he allows the audience to take from it what they will. It is a film open to interpretation and audiences will walk away from it in a whole manner of ways. Some will feel as I do while others may respond disagreeably. Nevertheless each and every viewer will have been assaulted by a confronting documentation of black magic, spiritual enlightenment, drug use and other extremities.