In the Belgian filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael’s wickedly amusing religious satire, “The Brand New Testament,” God (Benoît Poelvoorde) is a snarling, meanspirited bully who rules the universe from an apartment in Brussels. Inside his locked office, surrounded by walls of card files, the tyrannical, perpetually bored deity sits behind a computer and plays nasty practical jokes on humans.
A favorite pastime is contriving Laws of Annoyance, like making sure that when a piece of toast falls, it always lands with the jelly side down.God’s wife (Yolande Moreau) is a silent, slavishly dutiful housekeeper; his son, JC, has been reduced to a statue. It remains for his rebellious young daughter, Ea (Pili Groyne), to flout his authority.
Sneaking into his office, she hacks into his computer and, in what the news media later names “DeathLeaks,” sends text messages to everyone in the world, informing all of the dates of their deaths. Suddenly, millions are free to use the time they have left as they see fit. One daredevil, assured of a long life, keeps jumping from heights and landing safely [ . . . ] Read Full New York Times Review