Coming out of ‘Sherwood Pictures‘ (a fully fledged independent production company which is a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church, in Albany, Georgia, USA) and their first big venture this film is – in many ways – the forerunner of such Christian films as ‘Fireproof’, ‘Facing The Giants’ and ‘Courageous’, and as the forerunner it certainly does show it’s infancy in comparison. But that should not put you off watching this film.
Due to this being a review on the film itself and not a commentary on the wonderful initiative of Christian Churches actually being behind the making of Christian films, I am going to limit myself from rattling on about this new initiative. But I do think it is worth mentioning what a blessing it is.
In the most simplistic of terms this movie is about a dishonest car salesman – Jake Austin (played by Roger Breland) who so intensely wants and needs to sells cars but who then turns his life (and his sales ethics) over to Christ. And as such the film focuses on the changes in his life and also to his favourite car.
However there is (as I am sure you were hoping) more to the story than that. Jake is not only a salesman he is also the owner of the car lot (used car sales business) and thus his dishonest practices are also the practices of his staff. And so changes to his life and integrity obviously threatens theirs. And so we see how God changing the life of one person can filter out and influence the lives of many others.
Normally in my reviews I comment on and try to acknowledge wonderful performances and acting as well as making mention of any well known actors or actresses within the films that I review. But in truth this film offers we the viewers no well-known actors and next to no – in my opinion – wonderful performances. Although most performances are – it should be said – perfectly acceptable and believable.
To be honest I found the acting in this film (and yes I openly acknowledge that it is a church-based project completed on a small [I think around $20,000] budget) to be somewhat flat and uninspiring. And actually I found the film to be equally as flat and uninspiring, outside of the fact that finally Christians are fully involved in the making of Christian film making.
That is not to say that the film isn’t worth watching. It certainly is and yes it has a good and healthy message.
I don’t know. Perhaps I – like many (I believe) of our young people – have become socially conditioned by the media to expect – and almost even demand – the sensational? I am certainly open to that possibility. And certainly I am (and have long since been) of the opinion that this social conditioning of expecting the sensational has done so much damage to us when it comes to our also expecting to and actually recognising and seeing Christ at work in the small and simple as well as the big and dramatic.
And whilst this film was released some twelve years back and the initiative no longer new or in its infancy I still don’t want to be discouraging about it in any way. It is an OK film with an acceptable level of acting from unknown actors – many of whom I suspect were not even actors before this venture – and as such does a good job. And I really do want to compliment those who had no acting experiences or even ambitions but who committed to this film and venture.
Is the film worth watching? Yes absolutely it is. Is the story interesting – even captivating? Interesting yes, captivating no. Sorry but actually I suspect the real-life story of Sherwood Pictures and ‘the Kendrick Brothers’ is more captivating than this movie.
Is it inspiring? Well, actually I suspect this is more down to we the viewers and our expectations than it is down to the film-makers.
“I love those who love me,
And those who seek me diligently will find me.”
(Proverbs 8:17 NKJV)
Written By: Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick
Directed By: Alex Kendrick
Starring: Rosetta Harris Armstrong, Lisa Arnold, Blake Bailey,
Genre: Drama, Christian
Released: April 09th, 2003 (USA)
Runtime: 120 mins
Age Rating: PG
Controversial Language: None
Nudity and/or Sexual Content: None
Potentially Disturbing Scenes: None
For Faith and Ful-film-ent Rating: 5/10 ††††††††††