Film Review: Say Your Prayers

STUDIO: Gravitas Ventures | DIRECTOR: Harry Michell | CAST: Harry Melling, Tom Brooke, Derek Jacobi, Roger Allam, Anna Maxwell Martin, Vinette Robinson
RELEASE DATE: April 2, 2021
SPECS: NR | 84 min. | Crime comedy

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie 

Say Your Prayers is the darkly funny religious crime comedy which successfully needles extreme atheism and radical Catholicism at the same time.

The picturesque town of Ilkley in Yorkshire, England is having its annual book festival and the keynote guest is celebrity atheist Professor John Huxley (Roger Allam, TV’s Call My Agent) and author of the new book God Awful. Needless to say, the religious community is not a fan, so Father Enoch (Derek Jacobi, TV’s Last Tango in Halifax) decides to dispatch orphaned brothers Tim (Harry Melling, TV’s The Queen’s Gambit) and Vic (Tom Brooke, TV’s The Crown), who he has indoctrinated into Christian radicals, to assassinate Huxley. But  a classic case of mistaken identity finds them having murdered the wrong man and attracting the attention of the hardboiled, foul-mouthed Detective Inspector Brough (Anna Maxwell Martin, Philomena). Now the shy, soft spoken Tim and easy-to-anger Vic are stuck in town as they wait for Enoch to arrive and help them complete God’s work.

The dryer your sense of humor, the more you’ll enjoy Say Your Prayers and its various storytelling quirks, which include a sharp-suited male chorus popping up in various scenes and commenting on the action through deep throated spiritual song. The film strikes all the right tones as it toggles between a sardonic crime caper and a religious satire. Writers Jamie Fraser (Voice) and Harry Michell (Chubby Funny), who also directs, skillfully walk the fine line between both, equally skewing both sides with barbs that are both funny and thought provoking.

Casting director Daniel Hubbard (Captain Phillips) creates a perfect ensemble that combines renowned veterans like Jacobi and Allam with notable up-and-comers in Melling, Brooke and Maxwell Martin. In particular, Melling shines as Tim, the emotional center of the story, infusing him with just the right amount of naiveté and inquisitiveness which lead to the internal conflict around his deadly mission. The costuming of his pompom winter hat is a nice touch to help convey his childlike demeanor.

This Easter weekend, watching Say Your Prayers is the perfect way to do your penance.

About Janine

Janine is a dedicated fan of the 1940 film Kitty Foyle, directed by Sam Wood, written by Dalton Trumbo and starring Ginger Rogers, who won an Oscar for her portrayal. And seeing that film is all it took to make her a lifelong movie lover. Janine is excited to add her insights to the great team at