Sunday, March 4, 2012
One Minute Movie Review: Courageous
The one thing there has never been a lack of in Hollywood is worthless movies. I am sure if laid end to end they would probably circle the globe several times. Add into that fact that every one of Hollywood's past attempts to create films focusing on family values or any aspect of theology results in an epic fail. Now in order to fill a void in spiritually significant media, Christian producers and directors have come out of hiding to develop celluloid to successfully reach the masses. The result, more times than I like to admit, are badly acted, preachy, stale, and predictable fare that have no real appeal except for the overtly weepy or ultra religious. Most of Kirk Cameron's films seem to degenerate into that category. With that in mind, and knowing that the director of this film, Alex Kendrick, who also stars in the film, released the mega sappy and down right disappointing Fireproof I journeyed in with low expectations and lush cynicism. Before I begin, I have to ask a nagging question. Why is it that everyone in these pictures has to end up with some sort of card, pledge, resolution, or book that their dad gives them to save their marriage? Do Christians truly believe that it takes these types of practices to quicken the soul? As if the Bible just isn't enough to get the point across and God needs the assitance of some cliched, spirtual self help, ten step program to motivate and educate. That folks is the miracle of marketing propaganda even for the pias. Now that my soap box has splintered I digress and begin my review. First, and foremost, Kendrick is about as mediocre of an actor as there can be. Most of the time his directing lacks emotional oomph to drive the story and keep it fluid. Although, up to this point, Facing The Giants may be the exception. However, more often than not, the biggest issue is that the dialogue of his cast sounds cheesy and forced, and the chemistry between characters is somewhere between melancholy and sluggish. With that said, this film, I am happy to report, may be Kendrick's comeback. A call for fathers to be fathers in the most direct but digestible way possible. He trades preachy for subtle, guilt trip for reality check, in an effort to reach a wide audience who desperately need to hear this message. The story moves smoothly, and the character interaction is authentic. The film starts subtly but moves effectively weaving all the subplots together into a believable tapestry. The supporting cast is decent but, at times, lacks punch. It almost feels as if the actors are going through the motions rather than truly portraying their character's full potential. However, Robert Amaya steals the show as Javier, the friend we all liked to have and the person we would all like to be. As a movie buff, it was a minor league production, as a father and Christian it was a powerful tool of evangelism. Based on the returns, it appears I am not alone in that conclusion. It is profoundly apparent that audiences are hungry, starving, for some decency and purpose to justify the spending of their hard earned entertainment dollar. A fact that continually escapes the L.A. elite. I have to admit, I had some damp eye moments. In a world drenched in P.C to a point of drowning, it is good to see that a film that promotes real family values and responsibility succeed. I am just glad Cameron did not find a way to promote himself in it. 3 out of 5 Kernels, a decided victory for Christian film making and true call for fatherly accountability and leadership.