A delightful blasphemy, [Imitation of Christ] actually looks more like Bike Boy than Lonesome Cowboys; basically, it's just a series of encounters between Patrick/Jesus/Warhol and everybody else. Endless rap, much of it funny, and more in-references than the human mind can stand. Warhol's directorial hand is stronger here than in previous films—and a lot of the time he seems to be feeding lines to the actors. Certainly, Bridget's speech about her son ("They tell me he's a genius. If that's genius, I want no part of it!") sounds too much like Mrs. Warhol to be an accident.
As usual, Warhol's illusion/reality games are right on. The tension that he sets up between his people-as-people and the fantasies they enact is stunning; the only unfailing reality is the film running through the camera. Warhol's instinctive understanding of just how far he can manipulate the situation in front of the camera without turning it into a hollywood movie is beautiful. Seems like he's been picking up on Godard while everybody was busy noticing how much Godard was picking up on him.
Thinking back to Warhol's early Edison-experiments, it seems clear that he's been into film all along. Not movies, not cinema—just film.
Michael Goodwin, "Berkel-Eye," in Take One (copyright © 1970 by Unicorn Publishing Corp.), Vol. 2, No. 5, May 10, 1970, p. 28.