Monday, September 29, 2008

Fireproof - The Sum is Greater than the Parts

(With thanks to Mrs. S.)

SPOILER WARNING - Don't read further if you don't want to know much about the movie before seeing it.

Sherwood Productions is doing a very good job of re-defining Christian movies to full blown evangelical, didactic films. Strong messages, clear and compelling presentation of the Gospel, with flashes of brilliance.

I very much enjoyed the movie, with the understanding that the elements would be weaker than an A or even a B movie. I'll forgive a lot just because the effort is undertaken by talented beginners with magnificent hearts.

That being said...

I don't like Kurt Cameron as an actor. I never believe him because he doesn't have continuity of emotion, jumping like a jackrabbit from one emotional state to another without sufficient motivation. I expected his performance to be as bad as it was in the Left Behind *ahem* films. And at first I thought I was right, but as the film progressed it was clear the problems of the first act were the director's more than Cameron's. He gave probably the best performance of his life, which isn't saying much. The old Cameron peeked out several times, but overall he did okay.

The Kendrick brothers are improving, but they have a long way to go. The direction was often brilliant in moments, but between on-the-nose direction and a straight-line script, the comprehensive showing was great for a C (for Christian) movie, but not for an A movie (which they are not, so it's perhaps an unfair comment). A multi-layered plot would have been helpful, I think the script has structural flaws (underdeveloped B plot, absent C plot, and a pathological need to tie every bow with a double-knot).

Erin Bethea did a great job, overcoming the direction, as did the Lieutenant for the most part. The script has some wonderful moments, great messages, and deep insights. These guys are talented at the scene level, not so hot on the sequence or beat level. Steadily improving, though.

The ending was a low-stake affair with no ticking clock. The rom-com station moment was really nice, but it hadn't been foreshadowed so it came off a little cheesy. The final reveal was over the top and over expressed.

Nonetheless, there is a lot more to love than dislike. Great concept, great story, great moments, great message. Definitely worth seeing. We had people sobbing at the showing we saw, not just tears but wracking sobs, which speaks to the need this movie fulfills. Further, where most movies have to earn your loyalty, this one gets it going in... you're so on their side you'll forgive anything; a magnificent achievement. :)


Sherlock said...

I have made my opinions of this kind of fare known. I will not bother again.

I'm just waiting for my friend Chris to get his degree and start making good "Christian" movies.

Sherlock said...

"OF" should have been "on"....

mac said...

I do not know. I think maybe acting could always be looking a bit better. But then I always change my thinking to what the "Moral Of The Story" is. If it's a good story, then that says it.

Rob said...

Oh, please bother, Sherly old boy; enquiring minds want to know.