Last issue I faced the daunting task of truthfully reviewing a faith-based film that was opening on screens across the country. Without rehashing the details, suffice it to say I wasn't a fan. But thinking about how often I am disappointed by Christian-produced movies set me thinking about the ones that do not disappoint.
In the movie pages, our goal is to dissect entertainment through the objective lens of Scripture, so we sometimes find aspects of secular films worth discussing and even applauding. But there are a few movies that do better than that. They don't just offer food for thought, they offer food for faith. Many have been mentioned in this publication before, but in the spirit of celebrating what is good and true, we'd like to devote some space in the next several issues to DVDs that exemplify outstanding artistry by Christian filmmakers.
One movie that has been on my must-see list since it was released in 2002: To End All Wars. With Oscar-worthy performances by Kiefer Sutherland and Ciaran McMenamin and a thoughtful, complex script by screenwriter Brian Godawa ("Discerning eyes," March 13,2010), this World War II drama brilliantly contrasts the culture of Christ against the culture of a fallen world.
It tells the true story of Ernest Gordon, a POW who not only survived his internment on Japan's Burma-Siam railway of death, but found a new life he was able to share with his captors. Few movies use R-rated language and violence to such worthy effect, demonstrating how we debase ourselves with sin. Godawa and director David Cunningham don't fall back on paint-by-numbers transformation. Their characters experience messy, sometimes regressive struggles with all-too-human instincts for revenge, justice, and despair before finally finding and emulating the forgiveness Christ offers.