They almost had it!
Christian movies have a problem and we all know what it is. Historically speaking, they put the message over the art, which not only leads to worse art, it leads to less effective evangelization.
I have never heard anyone tell me: “you know, I wasn’t sure about this whole Christianity thing, but then I watched Facing the Giants and now I am going to church.”
Nobody wants to join a Church known for preachiness and ham-fisted morality tales.
Recently, as Christianity has grown more counter-cultural, I have noticed an increase in quality in Christian media: The Bible in a Year has been the number one podcast multiple times, audio dramas on the website “Formed” are underrated gems, I have heard “The Chosen” is quite good, and movies like “Father Stu” and “Paul the Apostle” have been high quality and have drawn in mainstream actors.
I had hoped the days of cardboard characters only existing to offer an onscreen sermon were over, and Christians had moved on from projects more on the nose than Jesus’s actual parables, and for the first ninety percent of the movie, Nefarious, it seemed like my hope was justified.
The performance of Sean Patrick Flanery was perhaps the best acting performance I have ever seen on screen. It was right up there with the likes of Heath Ledger’s Joker and Anthony Hopkins Hannibal.
Sure, there was dialogue that espoused conservative viewpoints, like euthanasia and abortion being murder, but if you’re going to complain about that on artistic grounds, I expect you to also be complaining about the woke messaging shoved into pretty much every Disney-made movie in the past five years.
Besides, if in your movie, the traditional Christian understanding of demons and Hell and God and angels is correct, it does not seem like a stretch that the Christian ethics are also correct.
As the movie was nearing its finish, I was thinking I could show even non-Christian friends this movie, and even they would enjoy it and it would indeed be a great movie to stir curiosity about Christianity into a culture increasingly ignorant of what Christianity teaches.
And then came the ending.
Why in the world did they make the main character go on Glenn Beck’s show? At that moment, they probably lost most of the non-Conservative Christian audience they had hoped to attract with the movie’s vague marketing.
To be clear, I am not saying anything about Glenn Beck except that he is a polarizing figure politically. He, in this case, is a needless divide to any audience member who does not fully align with the movie makers’ beliefs.
But it gets worse. I did not have a timer on me, but the interview seemed to go on for ten minutes. They even go into the forensics of the miracle the main character experienced like they were trying to prove a miracle that happened in a movie.
Did the writers forget that they made a fictional movie? You don’t need a fictional forensics report proving that the fictional event we witnessed did indeed happen in this fictional movie. We already saw it happen!
Apparently, the writers for this movie also wrote “God’s Not Dead,” a terrible, terrible movie. If you would have told me that in the first 108 minutes or so of the movie, I would have been astounded at how much they improved in their craft.
But that last ten minutes or so of Glenn Beck assuring the formerly-Atheist doctor that he will become a believer one day felt quite on-brand for the writers.
It really was like the writers had a demon of their own convince them that they were being too subtle.
I still really enjoyed the movie, but that ending left me with a bad taste in my mouth after a delicious entrée.
Overall: 7.5 out of 10.