Daily News header

One Bad Cat: The Reverend Albert Wagner Story Film Review

By Kam Williams

Documentary Chronicles Born-again African-American's Salvation via Sermonizing and Painting

Albert Wagner (1924-2006) freely acknowledges that he frittered away his first half-century on Earth chasing skirts to the point that his wanton ways left him on the brink of ruin. A slave to wine and women, he fathered 20 children between his wife and his mistresses.

He would bottom out while spending time behind bars when he was accused of sexually molesting one of his own kids. He admitted committing the act of incest, and considered himself lucky not to have received a stiff sentence of five years instead of just five days.


Blaming his profligate behavior not only on lust, but on a combination of racism and narcissism, Albert turned a new leaf after God spoke to him through a piece of wood on his 50th birthday. From that point forward, the shameless sinner reformed, dedicating his life to Jesus and seeking salvation by creating Christian-themed paintings and by preaching as an ordained minister.

Having spawned such a large extended family, Reverend Wagner discovered that he had a ready-made congregation in his own relatives. Meanwhile, he also met with success as a prolific, self-taught folk artist, first in his hometown of Cleveland, and then all across the country, as word of his colorful masterpieces started to spread.

The arc of Albert's life from heathen to hero is chronicled by One Bad Cat, a compelling documentary narrated by stentorian-throated Delroy Lindo. The biopic was shot mostly on location at the subject's home/studio shortly before the ailing octogenarian's death, although director Thomas Miller also mixes in some interesting archival footage.

The charismatic Wagner proves to be as controversial a figure as you're going to encounter onscreen, as he somehow comes off as simultaneously likable and despicable. Yes, he strikes you as sincerely Born Again, but this belated conversion came only long after his having apparently wreaked enough havoc to leave lots of females' fragile psyches emotionally-shredded.

Yep, this was definitely one bad mother (shut your mouth!) who could have written a Bible for today's ghetto gangstas on how to be a player.

Excellent (4 stars)
Unrated
Running time: 81 minutes
Studio: Tesseract Films
Distributor: IFC Center

To see a trailer of One Bad Cat, visit: http://www.onebadcat.net/Trailer.shtml

  Please leave a comment here     If it does not display within 10 seconds, please refresh the page

Related Movie Reviews News

Chef, author, world traveler Anthony Bourdain is an outspoken trailblazer with unique insights talks about his life, career and Peabody and Emmy-winning TV-series, Parts Unknown.
Kam Williams interviews Gina the Dreamer about Beyond the Lights, a romance drama co-starring Gugu Mbata-Raw and Nate Parker.
Marion Cotillard, who is no stranger to tackling complex characters and complicated women in movies, most notably as Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose, plays Sandra in Two Days, One Night. An emotionally vulnerable blue collar worker in a plant determine
Stevie Nicks, older and ever bolder turned heads with Stevie's back-to-the-future, pre-technoid selfies at an opening exhibition in the Morrison Hotel Gallery, Manhattan.
Michael Pena, who first appeared in 'To Sir, with Love' and 'End of Watch' director David Ayer talk to Kam Williams about reuniting to collaborate on Fury.
Rosamund Pike stopped by the NY Film Festival where Gone Girl premiered, to weigh in on assorted relevant topics, with Prairie Miller.

 

NewsBlaze Writers Of The Month



Popular Stories This Month

newsletter logo

NewsBlaze
Copyright © 2004-2014 NewsBlaze Pty. Ltd.
Use of this website is subject to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy  | DMCA Notice               Press Room   |    Visit NewsBlaze Mobile Site