Salvation Boulevard (2011)

Action, Comedy, Drama, Thriller
Greg Kinnear, Pierce Brosnan, Marisa Tomei, Jennifer Connelly
Set in the world of mega-churches in which a former Deadhead-turned-born again-Christian finds himself on the run from fundamentalist members of his mega-church who will do anything to protect their larger-than-life pastor.
  • IFC Films Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 15 Jul 2011 Released:
  • 18 Sep 2012 DVD Release:
  • $27.4k Box office:

All subtitles:


Be Open Minded ... Religion is FUNNY!9/10
I grew up Southern Baptist and I thought this movie was laugh out loud funny. Of course, there was some predictable religious jokes. Lots of confusion & communication-based chaos with a karma-tic ending (though a bit trite). Actually saw this movie September 2010 at a early release film screening where we were able to review the film afterward. I hope they re-shot the ending, as the conclusion was a bit abrupt. Overall, it was a great laugh. Pierce Brosnan is EXCELLENT as Rev. Dan Day. Stand out performances by Greg Kinnear and Marisa Tomei as well. Not sure if this film will be a small release, but it's worth finding to see.
Some viewers will find Salvation Boulevard's over the top characterizations of delusional religious fanatics to be in poor taste, over viewers will be in for some laughs.5/10
Salvation Boulevard is a star packed ensemble "dramedy" based loosely on Larry Beinhart's novel of the same title. Greg Kinnear plays Carl, a former "deadhead" (followers of the band Grateful Dead) who has settled into a nice quite life with his uptight and super religious wife Gwen, played by Jennifer Connelly. Gwen religiously attends the Church of the Third Millennium which is led by the charismatic Pastor Dan Day, played by Pierce Brosnan. Having enraptured the town with his holy message, Day sustains a small empire for himself made out of an adoring congregation that worships him like a prophet. With an ego of the size of Jesus' cross, Day aspires to build a "city upon a hill", a planned and private community, complete with a school and hospital. Not only will this provide a safe and convenient sanctuary for God's worshipers but as the chief developer of this colossal undertaking Day stands to make a healthy sum of money.

However, the meeting of renown atheist extraordinaire Dr. Paul Blaylock, played by Ed Harris, puts it all at risk. After a public philosophical debate, Blaylock and Pastor Day retire to Blaylock's office for a friendly nightcap. Carl tags along to the meeting as Day's newly evangelized prize. Here a genial discussion about a joint book venture turns awry when Day accidentally shoots Blaylock in the head with an antique pistol.

In a moment of panic, the Pastor disguises the incident as a suicide attempt with Carl in the room as seemingly the only witness to Day's deceit. Carl's life then spirals into disaster as not only do his wife and closest friends not believe his truthful story but there are others trying to kidnap and frame him.

Salvation Boulevard's story line has a similar feel to that of the Coen Brother's film The Big Lebowski [1998]. Like "the Dude" in The Big Lebowski, Carl plays a very passive protagonist who gets caught up in mortal danger through no fault of his own. He is seemingly moved from precarious situation to the next by all forces other than himself. Carl passivity is contrasted by the outrageous antics of the characters that surround him. Pierce Brosnan with his good looks, deep voice and smooth command of language personifies an excellent slimy and manipulative pastor. As Day's ego and paranoia grow throughout the film so does Brosnan's comedic affect as he literally starts to believe the devil is after him.

With such a wealth of idiosyncratic characters Salvation Boulevard was able to attract a large award winning cast, including Marisa Tomei who plays a free spirited security guard. Jennifer Connelly and Jim Gaffigan play Day's fanatical and easily persuaded followers. Some would say these characters are a cruel misrepresentation of the Evangelical community. They may have a point, but taking this comedic movie too personally deprives the viewer from finding all the comical religious Easter eggs in the film. One of which is a building with devilish horns on the roof where Carl is taken to by Day's zealots. The laughs in Salvation Boulevard are not gut busters but are subtlety sprinkled throughout the film.

On the down, this film has a less than satisfying ending and seems to end abruptly. The side characters don't get endings that are worthy over their performances. Instead they are given in the form of text. An extra ten minutes might have wrapped the film in a more imprinting manner. Salvation Boulevard is layered with jokes that lie not only in th dialogue and action but also in the art direction and cinematography, giving the film the rare quality of finding something new every time you watch it. Unfortunately, this film will probably go under appreciated as critics have slammed it for its obvious slant against Evangelical Christians. However, I have faith that in time Salvation Boulevard will find its audience, but they probably won't be as devoted as your average "deadhead".

7 out of 10

This Film is not for:

-People who don't find mocking religion funny

-People who have no interest in religion
Good satire- may not be memorable5/10
If you are not part of it – what could be a better subject for satire than a big Texas like Evangelical Church? Director and co-writer George Ratliff did just this thing and interestingly enough he told us that the previews are doing well in the midst of the bible belt. In addition to a well-written story with some good comedy and many surprise twists, this film project pulled together a great cast who created the zany characters who are up on the screen for 95 minutes. Dan Day (Pierce Brosnan) the church leader who is on the verge of building his Christian City on the Hill with a medical school, a law school and everything else when something happens that make him respond in not the most holy manner. Carl Vandermeer (Greg Kinnear), a former Deadhead (follower of the Grateful Dead) has settled into a clean life as a family man and a regular church goer when he gets tested and then can't believe he had been a follower of the good Dan Day. His journey is the heart of the film and the center of most of the comedic moments. Then there is his wife Gwen (Jennifer Connelly) who is hilarious as the dyed in the wool follower of Dan Day and his movement as well as being a weird artist. Honey Foster (Marisa Tomei) is a security guard with a heart of gold and she herself is former Deadhead who still likes to smoke her pipe. Ed Harris gets into the character of Dr. Paul Blaylock who in many people's opinion ( but not the Evangelical crowd ) would be the voice of reason, but he gets a bullet in his head which does slow him down. Most people in the theatre seemed to have had a good time. There were a lot of laughs and the satire was as expected but the story was not predictable. So a good time was had, but it probably won't be very memorable.
A very enjoyable Dark comedy9/10
After going through a disappointing summer movie line up this year " 2011 " so far, i was more than happy when i found this film playing in a theater near by.

And after watching this very enjoyable movie, i was left surprised in why it had a very limited release ? unlike most big budget summer movies, this movie focused on substance rather than style. it had a very engaging story that unfolds in a very intriguing way.

the story is that of a well known Pastor played by Pierce Brosnan who gets involved in a debate with a disbeliever and writer played by Ed Harris, soon after, the pastor gets involved in a sinful accident and tries to use his religious influences to get himself out. stuck in the middle of all this, is an ex-deadhead played by Greg Kinnear.

the Characters and acting were the best thing in the movie, a wonderful cast lead by Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connely and Marisa TOmey. they all deliver very memorable performances, and they added a lot to their characters. the characters were fun and seemed very familiar, easy to identify with.

the film was more of a dark comedy, very funny and laugh out loud moments involving religion, relationships and even murder.

I am just so surprised with the limited release, this film deserves a wider release and should reach more audience. I highly recommend this.
a great little film7/10
While this is not Casablanca, this is a great little sleeper of a film. Great cast, funny script, good production values, I'm just astonished it bombed at the box office.

The story of a preacher gone bad, a dead head turned believer, and a cast of character actors that are very well cast. It's a slapstick of a film, but we live in a world where that isn't enough.

The plot is right on the money, with with a series of turns and twists that entertain at every junction. I've never seen Pierce Brosnan as well cast as the Evangelical that goes astray. Greg Kinnear is superb in the role of the deadhead turned believer who has his faith tested. Ed Harris is perfect in the role of anti-Christ author, Marisa Tomei is just hilarious as the redeemer of Greg. Jennifer Connelly plays a very convincing wife who just can't believe that the pastor is in the wrong. Isabelle Furman plays a wonderful role in the daughter who is caught in the middle.

Great funny lines, incredibly fun acting. If you are looking for a fun night and need a video, this is it. I have to imagine this film might be more successful over time, and as people discover it. If you are a born again Christian, this might not be your cup of tea.