Oh My God

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This globe-trotting quest to answer the eternal question “What is God?” strives for its own divine omniscience, interviewing dozens of subjects across 23 countries. A commercial photographer by training, director Peter Rodger sure knows how to make everything from the Himalayan mountains to the Kenyan plains look postcard perfect, as he travels the world to capture such exotic sacred rites as African animal sacrifice and Mayan pole dancing.

But in trying to shape his panorama into a spiritual inquiry, Rodger fails to heed his own complaint that “truth is being diluted by too many voices.” The reflections of Israelis and Palestinians, as well as Katrina victims and cancer patients, are reduced to a babble of disjunctive sound bites. The musings of celebrities like Seal and Ringo Starr are given prominence over those of religious leaders and scholars, while a relentless Moby-esque soundtrack subsumes each insight into a sonic miasma of theism. The results are often tasteless moments, like Hugh Jackman cackling over footage of an Australian aboriginal ritual scored to techno. To its credit, Oh My God’s overstimulated montage settles late into a sophisticated sequence that balances contending opinions on contemporary Islam. Otherwise, it’s 90-plus minutes of our big blue marble as seen by a creator with an eye for the exotic and a serious case of ADD.—Kevin B. Lee

Opens Fri; Landmark Sunshine. Find showtimes

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