As one of the most anticipated films from the New York International Latino Film Festival, The Custom Mary, directed by Matt Dunnerstick, is perhaps one of the oddest films to be presented this year. With an interesting blend of sci-fi influences, Christian themes, anti-corporation sentiments, and biting social commentary, the movie is a modern-day telling of the second coming of Christ.
Filmed on the streets of East Los Angeles, The Custom Mary tells the story of young Mary (Alicia Sixtos), who leads a pretty quiet life...but not for long. Working to support herself, Mary takes solace in her faith. Being fully devoted to the neighborhood store front church, Mary is soon propositioned by the ever conniving minister Paul Jr. (Travis Hammer), who convinces Mary to be a part of the next coming of Christ by becoming the mother of a cloned version of Jesus. Impregnated with the DNA of Christ found on the Shroud of Turin by a sinister brotherhood of corporate suits bent on taking over the world, Mary goes through a spiritual journey. She eventually uncovers the evil plot and leads to a dramatic enlightenment not only for Mary, but for the entire human race. Along the way, Mary falls in love with Joe (James Jolly), a mechanic who teaches her about low-rider culture and philosophy, all while becoming her biggest allay and supporter.
Truthfully, audiences won’t understand the angle of this confusing film. By tackling subjects such as cloning, false prophets, and even love, it fails to take a solid stand on anything. Are we to take this subject matter seriously or was this meant to be social satire? And how does low-rider culture fit into all of this? Unfortunately, The Custom Mary was more of a disappointment then a revelation.