An 1879 poker tournament attracts a cast of colorful high rollers, opportunists and scam artists to the dusty Arizona frontier in “Western Religion,” a one-dimensional movie painted in painfully broad strokes and whizzing, hurry-scurry action sequences.
In his Indiegogo fundraising proposal, writer-director James O’Brien outlined a radical reimagining of many western archetypes. But he apparently has no other cards up his sleeve. The ideas here aren’t developed, as they were tossed into the air only to be shot down.
The guy who propositions half of the men winds up in bed underneath a bare-chested lady. The self-sufficient, gun-slinging brothel madam ultimately relies on a man to do her bidding at the card game. Unusual characters such as a Chinese train robber, an Islamic prince and a “Dances With Wolves"-type white Apache tribesman leave the table in rapid succession, relegated to token status.
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood