There is a proverb that begins, “If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.” More or less, it is saying that wishes and reality are different things; just because someone wishes something to be true doesn't make it so. It is a sentiment that ought to be remembered when watching Bruce Burgess's new documentary, Bloodline.
Following the books Holy Blood, Holy Grail and The Da Vinci Code, the movie explores the possibility that Mary Magdalene and possibly Jesus went to France following the Crucifixion and that Mary may or may not have had kids with Jesus which she may or may not have brought to France with her. It's a lot of “if” and “maybe” and “possibly”, and, unfortunately, the documentary never actually provides any answers.
Burgess, who plays a huge on-screen part as narrator and explorer in the film, interviews numerous people, some claiming to be affiliated with the Priory of Sion, which, according to some documents, knows the whereabouts of the proof that shows Jesus and Mary to have had kids and gone to France following the alleged Crucifixion. The basic problem is that the Priory is a secret society and that as such, one can't trust that the people Burgess meets who claim to be members of the group are members of the group. It is also never explained why a secret society would place letters and documents in public archives if they are, in fact, a secret society.
In a nutshell, that's the problem with the entire documentary, if the documentary is taken as fact – no proof of anything, whatsoever, can be offered the viewer. It's all a lot of fascinating supposition, and terribly intriguing for the majority of its nearly two hour runtime, but it offers no proof whatsoever.
Following his look at the Priory, Burgess goes to Rennes-le-Chateau, where, a hundred years ago, a Priest named Bérenger Saunière, according to legend, found out information that would crush the Catholic Church. Various documents indicate that Saunière's discovery was Mary Magdalene's body and proof of a Jesus-Mary bloodline.
In Rennes-le-Chateau, Burgess meets up with an “amateur archeologist” named Ben Hammott. According to Hammott, he has found a tomb near Rennes-le-Chateau with a body beneath a white shroud with a red cross on it (a Templar-looking shroud if you will). Hammott is on an odd search for glass bottles with notes from Saunière in them, and, apparently has found several.
The last portion of the film follows Burgess as he travels around with Hammott on his treasure hunt and stands guard as Hammott returns to the tomb with the shroud. Burgess does not actually get to go to the site of the tomb, but Hammott returns with video of him desecrating the site and body (and yet Hammott doesn't get enough DNA to date the corpse or determine any information beyond the fact that it is probably of Middle Eastern origin).
Burgess makes a point of stating that he does not necessarily believe Hammott, any of the alleged Priory members, or the Catholic Church's version of history. However, he does not offer more than token opposing viewpoints, and even those are full of maybes.
Bloodline provides a fascinating look at a possible version of events. However, there is nothing in the documentary that feels like any sort of proof. There is nothing present in the documentary to make anyone with doubts about a Jesus-Mary bloodline believe in it. There are just so many unanswered bits and pieces and the entire argument for the bloodline as presented in the documentary seem too far-fetched to possibly be believed.
As an entertaining pseudo-historical, pseudo-factual piece, Bloodline makes for a decent diversion, but as a hard-hitting, investigative, fact-finding, answer-getting, documentary, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Bloodline opens on May 9 in New York and a week later in Los Angeles.