By order of God (Disney +): Andrew Garfield in Mormon, it’s damn good | myCANAL Switzerland

Job by Alexis Lebrun July 29, 2022

Definitely, nothing seems to be able to stop the British-American actor in recent months. After picking up his second Best Actor Oscar nomination this year, he’s been nominated for an Emmy for his performance in a fascinating new true-crime miniseries: By Order of God.

True Detective in Mormons

On this side of the Atlantic, the evocation of the Mormon religion most often triggers amused reactions. However, it is difficult to find the slightest hint of humor in the series that screenwriter and director Dustin Lance Black devotes to a sordid news item dating back to 1984 and which shook a very pious little town in the Mormon state of Utah. That year, a young mother named Brenda Lafferty (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and her baby are brutally murdered in their home by individuals who would later claim to have acted “By order of God”.

If suspicion first naturally goes to the husband, Allen Lafferty (Billy Howle), it is his very large family – Allen has five brothers – which quickly interests the investigators. Because the Laffertys are not just any family in the community. SDL » (Latter Day Saints, Latter-day Saints): these are people who weigh in on the corner and who rigorously apply the precepts of the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith. Perhaps a little too much, even for the taste of Jeb Pyre – this main character played by Andrew Garfield is fictitious – the inspector in charge of the investigation and whose deep religious faith is seriously shaken as that he sinks into the meanders of this affair, of such darkness that it sometimes recalls the best hours of True Detective.

At the head of an outrageously patriarchal and misogynistic micro-society, the men of the Lafferty family have indeed had great difficulty accepting the future victim (Brenda) into the family, because of her outspokenness and her aspirations. professional, incompatible with a radical vision of the Mormon religion – to which she nevertheless belongs. At least that’s what we gradually discover via numerous flashbacks, since the series is divided into three temporalities: the investigation, the evolution of the Lafferty family, and the beginnings of Mormonism in the 19th century during the conquest of the West, a period also presented in the form of flashbacks that evoke the western.

Andrew Garfield, touched by divine grace

It’s a genre well known to the director of the first two episodes, David Mackenzie, author in 2016 of a highly acclaimed neo-western, Comancheria (where Gil Birmingham already played, the actor who embodies Jeb’s non-Mormon Païute colleague for a penny). But the main responsible for the success of the series is first of all its screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, Oscar winner in 2009 for Harvey Milk (Gus Van Sant, 2008) and who also signed the J.Edgar by Clint Eastwood (2011) and the queer series When We Rise (2017).

Black knows well the subject at the heart of By order of Godsince he grew up in a Mormon family, an expertise already put at the service of the series big love (OCS), which depicted the daily life of polygamous Mormons. And like the latter, his new series can count on an exceptional cast, starting with Andrew Garfield in full swing after his Oscar nomination for Tick, Tick… Boom! (Lin-Manuel Miranda, 2021) and his genius role as a rogue televangelist for In the eyes of Tammy Faye (Michael Showalter, 2021).

He has the chance to share the poster with an actress who is in full explosion, the excellent Daisy Edgar-Jones revealed to us by War of the Worlds (CANAL+) and become a star thanks to the masterpiece Normal People (STARZPLAY). As for Sam Worthington (Jake Sully in Avatar) and Wyatt Russell (John Walker in Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+), they are perfectly frightening in the role of toxic males.

Because unlike the relatively touching character played by Andrew Garfield, Ron and Dan Lafferty did exist, and their sadly fascinating story was also told in the eponymous book on which the series is based, published in 2003 by Jon Krakauer (the ‘author of’Into the Wild). Like the book, the series portrays some adherents of Mormonism in a way that obviously hasn’t been to everyone’s liking in the United States, but no offense to those who felt targeted by it, By order of God constitutes a very good gateway to understanding the springs of religious fundamentalism.

By order of God episodes 1 to 7 on Disney+, available with CANAL+.

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