The idea that the books of Moses contain some kind of hidden code is not new. Early practitioners of the Kaballah, a form of Jewish mysticism, looked for hidden meanings in the texts allegedly uttered by God to Moses.
But not until the modern, computer age have some mystically-minded mathematicians verified that there are either incredible coincidences or possible prophecy contained within the Torah, the first five books of the Christian Bible.
At least that's the premise behind The Omega Code, a new feature-length film that features local actor and director Gregory "Ziggy" Wagrowski in a supporting role. The movie opens at Tiffany Square this weekend.
"What they do is, they go through something called equidistant letter sequences," Wagrowski said of the modern mathematicians who have tried to decipher the so-called Bible code.
Those sequences, when arranged in a particular way, he said, turn out to contain some pretty bizarre predictions about world events (the assassinations of JFK and Itzak Rabin, as examples).
Now, I have no idea if any of this is true, and Wagrowski, who read several books about the code in preparation for his role, claims only to be fascinated by the whole idea.
Since I don't have time to rearrange the letters of the Torah before deadline (and since I can barely handle Excel), I'll just present this info so you get the action-thriller's basic premise.
It's like this: The bad guy, Stone Alexander (played by Michael York), is head of the European Union, and he's trying to get his evil palms on something called the Omega Code (i.e., the end code) for his own ends. Those ends include, but are not limited to, taking over the world.
With the help of two prophets from the book of Revelation (one of which is played by Wagrowski), it's the job of a former protg (Casper Van Dien) to stop the power-hungry bastard.
The fact that the code is kept on computer disk leads to a considerable amount of car crunching, gun shooting and bomb blasting as the competing factions of good and dark duke it out.
"Basically, the idea is that everything -- everything -- is encoded into the Torah," said Wagrowski. "What [York] is trying to do is read the future with the code. So the whole idea is: What happens if the code gets into the wrong hands?"
As a prophet (or witness) from the book of Revelation (11:2-12), Wagrowski has a few far-out powers in his own hands, which he uses to rain on York's parade, telling him with angry prophet-like eloquence exactly what he can do with his visions of grandeur.
These are no hoary old geezers garbed in musty cloaks, however. These modern-day prophets look almost professorial in their attire; Wagrowski wears what looks like a tunic over khaki trousers and a sweater in much of the movie.
"It was fun," Wagrowski joked of his role. "I wish I still had some of those powers."
Fun and prophet
If you're picking up a slightly anti-gummint, right-wing Christian edge from all this, you're not far off. The producers of the flick are execs of Trinity Broadcast Network, which bills itself as the largest Christian television network in the world.
Led by well-coifed Jan and Paul Crouch, TBN produces everything from the weekly TV show Praise the Lord, to the feature-length movie The Revolutionary (about Jesus) and the mini-series Matthew and Out of Jerusalem.
Where does this movie fit in?
Conservative Christians have long held that big, trans-border European governmental bodies -- the EU, the G-7, the U.N. -- are a threat to the sovereignty of God's chosen You-Knighted-States.
No wonder, then, that the villian of The Omega Code hails from one of the institutions that some far-right apocalypse fans see as the very minions of Satan predicted in the Book of Revelations.
Whether this flick is simply a celluloid cover for a conspiracy rant, or these bizarre biblical subplots make for a great movie plot remains to be seen. Indeed, material like this should leave plenty of room for a few good, world-ending suspense scenes, back-stabbing betrayals, etc., etc.
And there should be some good performances, from lead Michael York (best-known for Cabaret and, more recently, for The Four Musketeers) to Wagrowski himself, an accomplished actor and director who served as the associate artistic director for the Smokebrush Center for Arts and Theater until February of last year.
That's when Wagrowski left town, moved to Los Angeles and got married. (Wagrowski's last Smokebrush production before leaving town was a futuristic, post-apocalypse version of Shakespeare's Macbeth.)
Now, after a year on the Coast, and a month or so traveling to the Middle East and Italy to film this movie, he's back in the Springs with plans to get back into the local theater scene (we'll have more on his plans in coming issues).
Wagrowski says he still prefers the immediacy of the stage to film, but he said traveling to Israel and filming scenes in the old city of Jerusalem was an unforgettable experience.
That said, however, Wagrowski added that he doesn't necessarily endorse whatever agenda the filmmakers might have. In fact, he doesn't even know the spin the producers will put on the prophecies of Revelations ("I haven't even seen any of the movie, except for the trailers that they're running on TBN," he said).
Those trailers, which can be seen at the movie's Web site (www.omegacode.com), do reveal, however, something that biblical scholars have known for years: The apocalypse will be a high-budget affair with lots of special effects.
In this case, that means at least one fairly convincing nuclear strike, a 3-D map of the globe (ya know, the kind that villians always have in movies like this), and some pretty stunning representations of the prophets' supernatural powers.
Whatever the ultimate message of this film, it should be an entertaining and action-packed 90-minute romp into Armageddon. And it should be fun to see a familiar face from the Smokebrush stage hit it big in 70mm.