Suppose I told you I knew where to find the body of Jesus.

Your reaction would echo my initial response to the premise of Bloodline: "Ridiculous!" (I even hooted, aloud, with derision, and I don't do that very often.)

And yet: Bloodline is either a rip-roaring con on the scale of Orson Welles' The War of the Worlds, or it provides possible evidence that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were, in fact, married, and that they fled to France after Jesus' "death." Either way, Bloodline is as hypnotically engaging as a well-executed magic trick, and perhaps even more so, given its initial preposterousness.

British director and narrator Bruce Burgess has all the hallmarks of a washed-up documentarian: He's fat, he smokes cigars, and he's vain. "Why me?" he dramatically asks when a representative of an underground Catholic sect tells him where to start looking for evidence, and one tends to think that, well, it might be him because he's the one making it all up.

Bloodline also features clichéd meetings in cafés in Paris. And there are loaded, melodramatic silences following the release of supposedly secret information. Not to mention a dubious turn of events that culminates in a cockney potholer(!) unearthing the body of Mary Magdalene(!!) in a French cave(!!!) with a garden trowel(!!!!).

Yes, you'll be hooting too. But while this film has all the hallmarks of a The Da Vinci Code ripoff, eventually it's all so bloody implausible that you wonder why anyone would even bother making it all up. And that's where Bloodline will start to get you: There's carbon dating. There are academics. People seem to actually be taking all this nonsense seriously. And there really are a few remarkable coincidences presented, ones that are impossible to explain away. By the end, even I was left pondering the film's implications for hours. Kudos, Bruce Burgess. Kudos.