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Canaan Land - Movie Review

Canaan Land

Because the spirit is ALWAYS willing, but the flesh is JUST AS weak. 

With cameos from Cindy Williams, Sally Kirkland, Louis Gossett Jr., and Lynda Carter, Canaan Land, a well-acted and controversial faith-based film from Richard Rossi, sharpens its knives and takes aim at the money-generating world of armed Amens and empty-headed Hallelujahs.  

"an interesting mix of media as fake healers and television evangelists get their much needed comeuppance"

Rossi, as writer and director of this independent film, is pissed off and wants apologies from the self-righteous ministries who continue to steal from the poor.  Canaan Land is his calling card as a charismatic con man finds himself falling in love with a sincere Christian and can only hope for forgiveness in light of what he's done.  Including stunts with gold dust and feathers claimed to be from angels, Canaan Land is an unapologetic look at modern religion and televangelism based on the director's personal experiences as a former faith healing evangelist.

And the results, as Brother Billy Gantry (Rossi) explains just how to dupe an entire flock of sheeple of their money and their faith, will leave you wanting to actually TALK about the film afterwards.  That’s if you can actually get through its rather rough assemblage of found footage and source material because, while topical, Canaan Land makes no apologies for its low budget, documentary-styled approach to narrative storytelling.  Everything is used here.  From FaceTime to vlogs, nothing is too low budget for what this film bears testimony to.

The journey is worth it and the source material used has a point, I am just giving you a fair warning about its low budget and its very Ed Wood-ian look, but all of that adds to this film's flavor.Canaan Land

Canaan Land, a very DIY flick, might be 30-minutes too long as it struggles to pull at the right narrative thread, but what untangles from a series of rapid edits, a faux documentary outline, and what appears to be loose and random conversations with anyone willing to be put in front of a camera - whether it is a cell phone or a security camera - is an interesting mix of media as fake healers and television evangelists get their much needed comeuppance.

Rossi is fed up and it is apparent right from the beginning of his movie.  The world of TV preachers has changed religion for the worst and what better way is there to explore this idea than with a fallen con artist who wants to get back into the game of conning people out of their money and right into Heaven, so he makes a move on Sister Sara Sunday (Rebecca Holden, Knight Rider) and her successful Televangelism ministries.  He has ideas on how she can expand her work and how to get even more money out of her followers.  But first he’s got to win her approval, her trust, and her faith . . . in him.

This narrative-formed expose shows just how fake miracle workers use stage-managed gimmicks to lure the weak, manipulate the strong, and continue to milk money from almost everyone along the way.  The trick in Brother Billy’s plan is that he himself actually falls hard for the person he is trying to con . . . which makes for an interesting switcheroo as the faithless come into contact with the genuine and then, rather unexpectedly, discover that their faults are fractures others have fallen into.

Is there such a thing as redemption?   Find out in Canaan Land!  Also starring Dawna Lee Heising in yet another solid performance, Canaan Land is now streaming on Amazon.  

Get the GOLD DUST!

3/5 stars

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor:
Available on Blu-ray

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Film Details

Canaan Land

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
113 mins
: Richard Rossi
Richard Rossi
Rebecca Holden, Richard Rossi, Dawna Lee Heising
: Drama
A con man preacher falls for a true believer and discovers his con game isn't a game anymore.
Memorable Movie Quote: "No, I can always find another woman. I'm really gonna miss the dog."
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 25, 2020
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: 'Canaan Land" is a love story between a charismatic con man preacher, Brother Billy Gantry, who falls in love with Sister Sara Sunday, a sincere Christian. She seeks to redeem Brother Billy, who manipulates the flock with fake miracles, including a stunt with gold dust and feathers he claims are from angels. The film is an unapologetic look at modern religion and televangelism based on the director's personal experiences as a former faith healing evangelist.


Canaan Land


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