When's the last time you engaged in a thoughtful, stimulating discussion about the existence of hell? Telling your ex (or your health insurance company) to go to hell doesn't count, nor does singing along to "Hell in a Bucket." Eternal suffering may be a bubbling-lava fount of easy chuckles to us godless alt-weekly heathens, but Christians take hell pretty damn seriously.
In his uncommonly philosophical documentary, Hellbound?, Canadian filmmaker Kevin Miller assembles a provocative and fascinating array of deep thinkers, compassion-oriented deists, fire-and-brimstone dead-enders, and metal musicians, including GWAR's Oderus Urungus. The result is a resolutely pro-Christian piece or, more accurately, a movie that touts classic Christian values such as integrity, introspection, charity, and mercy. In other words, Hellbound? produces a good deal more light than heat, if such a thing can be said about a film whose focus is fiery perdition. If the road to hell is indeed paved with good intentions, Miller is well on his way.
Hellbound? starts Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (screens Jan. 17-20) at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission (at Third St.), S.F. Admission is $8-$10.