Minister of Music Featured, Reviews Film Threat

Mar 9, 2024

Caught between organized religion and untamed spirituality is where the “Reverend” finds himself. Director Nick Canfield documents the life, music, and ministry of live performance powerhouse Vince Anderson in the film The Reverend. 
Vince Anderson felt a calling in his early adult life to be a minister and serve God. However, after a short three months in seminary, he dropped out and decided that maybe traditional pastoral ministry wasn’t the path for him. Sometime later, the flame was reignited when he saw a screening of Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. The film touched Vince in a profound way, and after some soul-searching and extended prayer sessions, he began to pursue music as his channel of spiritual outreach. 
He starts performing at various bars that will let him. At first, he played and sang songs he knew best, traditional gospel hymns. Later writing and playing his own tunes. Vince calls his style of music “dirty gospel,” which I would best describe as gospel music meets Chicago blues.  
Along the way, Vince gains a bit of a following and soon meets other musicians who, at various times, perform alongside him. He has performed with his band, The Love Choir, for over twenty years, maintaining residencies at Black Betty and later Union Pool music venues. Notable alumni of the Love Choir include Jaleel Bunton (TV on the Radio) and Questlove (Roots), both of whom appear for interviews. 

“…the life, music, and ministry of live performance powerhouse Vince Anderson…”
In his earlier years, he was often seen drinking several pints of beer and stripping down completely naked at a show as an extension of his visceral on-stage performance. One of Vince’s friends very accurately describes the experience as “The Holy Spirit meets the Tasmanian Devil.” His performances on screen are immersive and full of energy. I felt like a member of the audience as I watched Vince slam the keys of his keyboard and sing gospel lyrics with his deep, raspy, blues-style voice.  
Later in life, Vince does end up serving with a couple of church communities, including Bushwick + Abbey. The filmmakers follow Vince as he interacts with friends and congregants of his eclectic community. He is by nature a pretty charming guy. Whether tending his garden or mentoring young people at his Brooklyn church, it’s hard not to like Reverend Vince. 
About an hour in, the filmmakers explore his political activist side, and this is where the documentary takes a sour turn for me. All the momentum that the film has gained is instantly released, like the popping of a balloon. Suddenly, the accepting self-proclaimed reverend is outspoken in judging whether certain political figures are “real” followers of Jesus. He sings, “I don’t think Jesus would have done it that way,” and goes on a political campaign in a tour bus to convince voters across the country to vote against the figure with whom he disagrees. Watching Vince hand out fliers to vote pales compared to the live concert footage. Suffice it to say, the political scenes took an otherwise clear stream of a narrative and turned it into “Muddy Waters.” 
This documentary is part biopic, part live concert, and part political statement. The film shines most when Reverend Vince is leading his band on stage in powerful jam sessions and the intimate moments between. Vince Anderson proves to be a far from boring individual, and he is a delight to watch on screen. The Reverend is likely to brighten your day and maybe even bless you with a bit of spiritual inspiration. 

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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