It’s a title which – it is perhaps worth mentioning – has been used, in numerous forms, several times. But don’t let that put you off watching this film as it certainly is, in the opinion of this writer, a film well worth watching.
But, since the purpose of this blog is to review and comment upon Christian and faith-based films, I should perhaps make mention of the fact that I am aware that some might argue that this film does not technically qualify as a Christian or a faith-based film. And I can understand such a perspective given that a) this film does not come out of one of the better known production houses when it comes to Christian films and b) the actual faith-based content of this film is certainly not excessive or ‘in your face’ or even predominant amongst everything else.
In fact I can almost hear the cynics now claiming that what we have here is a film – based on the book “Unlikely Angel: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero” – which records how by ‘happenstance’ during a hostage situation parts of a Christian book (A Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren) was read and how – as a result of this ‘happenstance’ and the outcome of said hostage situation, some people have jumped on the publicity bandwagon and used it in the furtherance of their own book sales and agenda.
But then there will always – this side of heaven I feel – be cynics, won’t there?
But their points of view (are at least from the viewing of just this film alone) understandable and as I said, the ‘faith’ content of this film is certainly not as prominent as some would perhaps like.
And apart from the comments I made earlier about this film and it’s pedigree what also makes this film somewhat different from your usual ‘Christian’ film is that there is – and this should be noted – a fair bit of actual rather than implied or referred to violence within the first part of this film.
The film in fact centres around two main characters. That of Ashley Smith superbly played by Kate Mara (also known for Fantastic Four, Iron Man 2 and The Martian) featured in the image preceding the one above and Brian Nichols wonderfully played by David Oyelowo (featured in the image above ) and also known for Interstellar, Selma, Nightingale and The Butler.
And there is also an excellent performance by Michael Kenneth Williams (also known for 12 Years a Slave and Gone Baby Gone – among many others) who plays Detective John Chestnut – the lead investigator/detective in the case. And for the portrayal of a news reporter – Meredith MacKenzie by Jessica Oyelowo.
Did I enjoy this film? Was I inspired, challenged, blessed by it? Yes I truly was. Did it have me on the edge of my seat? No, but then I am not sure it was ever intended to do so. What it did do is keep me in my seat and cause me to reflect on my own life and my own faith, And I think you can ask little else of such a film as to seek to be ‘gripped’ or ‘excited’ throughout or even via such films is perhaps to seek the wrong thing in the wrong place and possibly – even probably – with the wrong motivations.
As you have probably noticed by now, apart from one or two general statements which are, I feel, already common knowledge about this film I have tried to stick t0 my policy of not including any spoilers in this review.
And so as I draw this particular review to a close let me conclude by sharing the following statement about this film. It is a film where the storyline is portrayed and indeed flows perfectly naturally and yet as is often the case within the natural we are given – those of us who truly seek to see – glimpses of the supernatural, of the spiritual. Of God at work in those who would – by the world’s understanding and certainly it’s judgement already be deemed to be lost.
And yet isn’t that the very calling card of God?
…But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, (ROMANS 5:20b NKJV)
Oh and before I close, I want to give a shout out to Carolyn – a dear friend from Church – who gave me a heads up about this film!
Written By: Brian Bird, Ashley Smith, Reinhard Donke
Directed By: Jerry Jameson
Starring: Kate Mara, David Oyelowo, Mimi Rogers
Genre: Christian, Drama, Crime, Thriller
Runtime: 97 mins
Age Rating: PG-13
Violence: Yes, but intrinsic to the storyline.
Controversial Language: Sparse to none
Nudity and/or Sexual Content: None
Potentially Disturbing Scenes: Yes, but intrinsic to the storyline.
For Faith and Ful-film-ent Rating: 8/10 ††††††††††