‘Jesus is King: A Film by Kanye West’ is a holy experience

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In the hip hop community, few rappers stand out like Kanye West. To promote his newest album “Jesus is King,” West decided to produce and star in an IMAX documentary short about his upcoming album. Directed by Nick Knight, the film follows West and his Sunday Service performance at the Roden Crater in Painted Desert, Arizona.  

Right away, this film feels holy. With a choir singing “Selah” a track off West’s new album, “Jesus is King” starts to feel less like a documentary and more like a church service. Throughout the film, different Bible verses are shown on screen. This may seem pretentious, but it provided a great connection to West’s vision of a religious project. 

The fish-eye lens gave an introspective look at the choir singing gospel, and seeing it in IMAX evokes a sense of being with West and the choir. If only the lens was bigger, then the film would have truly felt like an IMAX experience. That’s not to say the cinematography was terrible. However, for an authentic IMAX experience, a wider lens would have been more visually engaging. 

When it comes to sound quality however, “Jesus is King” was made for IMAX. Everything from the echoes of the choir to the bass in the music can be heard clearly through IMAX’s speakers.  Rarely has a film sounded as polished as “Jesus is King.” The recording was smooth and professional, while coming across as raw and unique to West’s vision. 

If there was one gripe that prevents “Jesus is King” from being a perfect film it’s the run-time. The film is under an hour in length, which is disappointing given how good the material is. It also does not help that the pacing made the movie feel quicker than the runtime suggests.  

Even with a short runtime, “Jesus is King” is able to present gorgeous imagery along with harmonious music that will make even haters of West enjoy this project. 

“Jesus is King” is an ambitious film that redefines album promotion for the 21st century. The religious theme the film presents is never excluding but rather welcoming. In a day and age where promoting an album is all about being flashy and as controversial as possible, West seems to take the opposite approach by having a film that is not only artistically unique, but also inclusive.  

The film is not a visual version of West’s new album. However, it does give insight on where West is heading in his career. No longer is he about drama with other celebrities or claiming he is a god. Instead he has found God.  

In the 15 years since West released his first album “The College Dropout,” he has risen to being a global superstar and even directed music videos along the way. While he did not direct “Jesus is King,” the vision of the film is strictly his own. 

It is hard to point out where West will take his career next. However if he decides to get involved with a film like “Jesus is King,” then it will surely be an experience that cannot be ignored.  

Final Score: 4.5/5 

Thumbnail photo courtesy of @kanyewest Twitter.


Ian Ward is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at ian.ward@uconn.edu

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