By Scott Brown
Updated October 12, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT
The Gospel: Guy D'alema

The raison d’être of a movie like The Gospel is the hero’s prostration before God…and how do you grade that? Like art or porn, you know it when you see it, you dig it or you don’t. But it’s the earthly drama preceding the evangelical money shot that distinguishes this near-musical about a newly minted R&B star (Boris Kodjoe) drawn back into his estranged father’s Atlanta ministry. It’s a rich portrait of a church in transition, and while the climactic come-to-Jesus is never in doubt, The Wire‘s lupine Idris Elba, as the hungry successor to the ailing pastor, threatens to turn this into a complex picture, even as The Gospel falls predictably to its knees with a satisfying thud.