The Corruption of Divine Providence – In the rural bilingual town of St. Michel, Manitoba, a teenage girl named Jeanne Seraphin (Ali Skovbye) wakes up and discovers she has near fatal wounds to her head, hands and feet that closely resemble the wounds Jesus Christ received when he was crucified.
Somehow, young Jeanne survives the massive blood loss from those wounds. As a result, she becomes the unwittingly centre of attention, as the local Catholic church, the area’s Metis community and an American charismatic Pentecostal preacher flock to her hospital room, thinking she is a living miracle with a message of peace and love to deliver. This creates a whirlwind of conflict, greed and the questioning of faith in Jeremy Torrie’s new feature “The Corruption of Divine Providence”.
Produced by the Winnipeg-based White Bear Films, this film is both gripping and disturbing. It’s also a glaring statement of the state of religion in North America today, whether it be from the mystical, traditional or charismatic viewpoint. As well, it shows how greed and ego can be so counter-productive towards the search for faith, as these three factions indirectly battle each other to see who can claim for themselves the divine right of possessing Jeanne to boost their respective religion.
However, the greed aspect is starkly represented through the motives of Jeanne’s father Louis (David Richard La Haye), a Metis resident of St. Michel who runs a local bar and illicit liquor distribution network, who sees nothing but dollar signs in this spiritual transformation that has taken over his daughter, and tries to profit from it by offering Jeanne’s “miracle” to the highest bidder.
And the questioning of faith is represented by her mother Danielle (Elyse Levesque), who has regretted her previous life choices and refuses to wear the Catholic cross around her neck as a defiant manner of questioning the existence of G-d due to the hardships she suffered throughout her life, while trying to rescue her daughter from being exploited for her divine powers.
Filled with eye catching cinematography that adds a bit of colour to an area in western Canada that could easily be portrayed as bleak, and strong performances by the lead cast, as well as supporting players Tantoo Cardinal as the longtime sage mystic who aids Danielle to find Jeanne when she is kidnapped from her hospital bed; and Corey Sevier as the loud, snake-wielding charismatic American preacher Peter Wolf, who adds the right amount of sleaziness to the role (and bears an eerie, but close resemblance to controversial Florida congressman Matt Gaetz).
“The Corruption of Divine Providence” may have some traces that’s reminiscent of The Exorcist, but it gives the viewer some food for thought of what people would go through for religious enlightenment, and the quest for fame and fortune that can turn a religious miracle into a false prophet.