Little Hope Was Arson
Film Review by Kam Williams
Bible Belt Documentary Chronicles Atheistic Arsonists’ 2010 Reign of Terror across East Texas
In little over a month, starting in January of 2010, ten churches located within a 40-mile radius of a rural section of East Texas were all burned to the ground. Was this the work of devil worshipping atheists, arsonists in search of a spectacle, or someone else?
The crimes confounded the criminal investigators who mounted the largest manhunt in the history of the region. Eventually, the authorities did crack the case, arresting a couple of troubled young men, Jason Bourque, 19, and Daniel Mcallister, 21.
Daniel soon started to sing, confessing after waiving his right to remain silent. He also implicated his pal Jason in return for word from his interrogator that he’d receive half the sentence of his co-conspirator. But that handshake wasn’t worth the paper it was written on, and both defendants landed life sentences when they got their day in court.
After all, this was not only the heart of the Bible Belt, but Texas, a state notorious for its lack of patience for felonious behavior. And when you factor in the ire of unforgiving church members who’d lost their place of worship, all bets were off in terms of any promised plea deal.
Little Hope Was Arson marks the noteworthy directorial debut of Theo Love. The picture is less sensational than understated as it relates an engaging tale in matter-of-fact style. Along the way, we learn about the family dysfunction in each of the boy’s childhood which ostensibly contributed to their lives spiraling out of control.
Personally, I only felt empathy towards the two upon learning how long they’ll have to spend behind bars, since nobody died during their month-long reign of terror. But maybe I was surprised to see a couple of white kids have the Good Book thrown at them.
Nevertheless, I’m sure that they were taught right from wrong as little boys, and somewhere along the way they simply opted for the dark side. So, now they must pay their debt to society.
The moral? Like the ghetto gangstas say: If you can’t do the time, don’t commit the crime. I can only pray that Daniel and Jason’s momentary thrill of setting those buildings ablaze was worth flushing their futures down the drain.
Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 73 minutes
Distributor: The Orchard / Submarine Deluxe