‘God’s Not Dead’ is a bold statement made both in the title of this film/movie and also (thankfully, as sometimes a film’s content doesn’t quite live up to it’s title or hype) in it’s content.
But make no mistake about this. This statement is not only a title and a central message within the film it is a personal challenge emanating to you the viewer via from the film. A challenge that requires and indeed, in the opinion of this reviewer, inspires a response.
As regular readers will no doubt know by now, I try my best not to give too much away about the storyline of the films that I review and where possible I refer to information already out there concerning this. So here is what ‘imdb.com‘ describes this movie’s storyline(s)…
College philosophy professor Mr. Radisson’s curriculum is challenged by his new student, Josh, who believes God exists.
And generally I don’t add to what imdb.com – an excellent source for movie related information – has to say about a film. But in this case let me just add, as it is certainly central to the plot, that the curriculum of the college philosophy professor in question – Mr Radisson – (played by the excellent Kevin Sorbo) is influenced by his own cynicism, anger and pain.
Life is really a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing!
Is one of the statements made by the professor. (Not – just in the interest of accuracy – in the scene above.)
And there within lies a truth faced by every Christian isn’t it? That we will in our walks be faced by others – and very often others with authority or power to influence our life on this earth – who do not hold the same faith or beliefs that we hold. And who will often try to influence or suppress, silence or even kill our faith.
Fast-paced, solid acting and an amazing musical score.
But for one of his students – Josh Wheaton (wonderfully played by Shane Harper [shown below]) the professor’s lack of faith and his requirement of his student’s to agree with it is simply not one he himself can adopt or comply with.
But of course, as with many a good film/movie, whilst this is the central storyline and indeed the main message and challenge. There are other very interesting and well presented story lines within this movie and certainly enough to keep you the viewer – in my opinion – attentive, entertained and indeed challenged.
And that, for me at least, is this film’s greatest attribute. It challenges.
The acting is excellent and the portrayal of his character (Josh Wheaton) by Shane Harper is excellent and just as strong as it needs to be in order to play against the wonderful and extremely powerful portrayal of the character of Professor Radisson by Kevin Sorbo. And the wonderful acting doesn’t end with just those two central characters.
Also appearing within this film are such names as David A. R. White (who plays the Rev Dave) and Dean Cain (of ‘The New Adventures of Superman’ fame and who plays Marc Shelley). And additionally there are appearances of Willie and Korie Robertson (from Duck Dynasty) – as themselves and which not only gives additional reference to the question of having a faith in Christ within a world where faith in Christ seems not only ridiculed but increasingly unacceptable, but also brings the question into a real and tangible context. And I should also, I feel, make mention of the wonderful portrayal of her character ‘Kara’ (Josh’s girlfriend) by Cassidy Gifford. Who whilst not having a starring role would – had not her performance been so plausible and believable – detracted so much from the film’s sub-plots and secondary or supporting messages.
Once again, as is often seems to be the case with the recent batch of Christian films, this film/movie is not filled with spectacular CGI shots or sequences or with gratuitous violence (see violence rating of zero below). And nor (oh so thankfully) is it peppered with clichés or oh-so-cheesy harmony sequences.
Instead it is intelligent, pure and confident. It stands resolute in the belief behind its message. Confident enough to make the statement and thereby issue a challenge and yet not so defiant as to antagonize or deter those who are of differing beliefs.
I like this film/movie. I was blessed by this movie and what is more I was blessed and extremely encouraged by the response of the youth group at the church that I attend. Who – from all the reports I have received (trust me, I am far too old to be personally involved in youth work nowadays) – were really impressed with, appreciative of and challenged by this film/movie.
Additionally, it is also worth mentioning, my bible study group watched this movie together on DVD some months back now. And we all thoroughly enjoyed it. So much so that I was asked by one of the group if they could borrow it to watch with their family and to pass on for a friend to watch. As I said that was some moths back now. I am yet to get the DVD back and I believe it is still doing the rounds. Not great for DVD sales I admit, but a very clear indication of how popular and respected this movie is.
And so I am delighted to highly recommend it!
Written By: Hunter Dennis, Chuck Konzelman, Cary Soloman
Directed By: Harold Cronk
Starring: Kevin Sorbo, Shane Harper, David A. R. White
Genre: Drama, Christian
Released: April 18th 2014 (UK)
Runtime: 113 mins
Controversial Language: None
Nudity and/or Sexual Content: None
Potentially Disturbing Scenes: Next to none.
For Faith and Ful-film-ent Rating: 9/10 Highly Recommended. ††††††††††