A thorough examination of the infamous UFO cult through the eyes of its former members and loved ones. What started in 1975 with the disappearance of 20 people from a small town in Oregon, ...
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A thorough examination of the infamous UFO cult through the eyes of its former members and loved ones. What started in 1975 with the disappearance of 20 people from a small town in Oregon, ended in 1997 with the largest suicide on US soil and changed the face of modern new age religion forever.
[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.]
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Well-made & thorough look into the makings (and resulting effects) of Heaven's Gate
As with most every HBO documentary, the filmmaking is top-notch. Intermixing historical footage, letters, news stories, animation, and interviews from then and now...we get an in-depth look at the arc of the Heaven's Gate cult. I didn't go in having much context for what this group actually consisted of or what their core beliefs were, but I left with a full narrative of the beginning to the stunningly tragic end. The production leans heavily on the recent testimony of several former members, and it's a wise choice. Rather than put these people in "a box," the tone encourages the viewer to have compassion for what happened and why they did what they did (no matter how crazy and irrational it may have been).
My only critique of the documentary- albeit a personal one- is the cheap shots taken at true Christianity. Heaven's Gate may have used traditionally Christian terminology, but their belief system did not ultimately coincide with anything biblical. And any time producers bring in Reza Aslan, I brace myself for cringeworthy mistruths. They could've done without insulting Christianity as a whole; totally unnecessary to the narrative. Otherwise a fascinating watch!
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