Chilling doesn't begin to describe Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, which uses archival footage and new interviews to chronicle events leading up to the horrible day in November 1978 when 909 people committed suicide in a Guyanese jungle at the behest of a charismatic madman named Jim Jones.
But the film never gets behind the chill; it paints Jones' Peoples Temple as a utopian idea gone terribly wrong, but it never gets a handle on how things went so bad so quickly. What made people follow Jones so blindly?
Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple (Seventh Art Releasing) Directed by Stanley Nelson. Unrated. Time 86 minutes.