Director: Joshua Marston
This film is based in a true story, which is something I always like as one can never know how the film will end.
The story is centred on pastor Carlton Pearson who refuses to help his uncle in prison and testify for him to help him obtain a parole because he does not believe that his uncle genuinely wants to be saved. As a result of having to spend additional six years in prison, his uncle commits a suicide.
Pastor then faces a breakdown and starts questioning his faith and relationship with the Lord. He then says he started to see things clearly and changes his preaching. In new preaching he said that we create our own torment, Jesus has already saved everyone and there is no Hell.
This was naturally a very unorthodox move and the congregation did not respond positively. Nevertheless, they start leaving his services and he ends up excommunicated accused for being a heretic for preaching an all loving God. Here is part of his speech from the film:
“The way the God of the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, is presented, he’s a monster. The God we’ve been preaching is a monster. He’s worse than Saddam. He’s worse than Osama bin Laden. He’s worse than Hitler the way we’ve presented Him, because Hitler just burned 6 million Jews, but God is going to burn at least 6 billion people and burn them forever.”
We then get to see a bankruptcy of the pastor and life struggle he had to go through as well as attempts to establish an alternative congregation and preach his views.
The film tackles some important issues such as conscience and how one breaks down when faced with consequences of their decisions. In addition, the film tackles religious affairs and lack of willingness to accept anything new and unorthodox, which is indeed a problem up to today in all mainstream religions where there is little freedom of thought among orthodox thinkers who fail to acknowledge any alternative view.
The film obviously has an important message and discusses and narrates an important life path. However, I am not sure I can say it is entirely well made because it starts extremely slow. Towards the end of the film, I was stomping my feet because I wanted it to end and the reason I finished it is because it was a new film so I wanted to blog about it. Having said this, the film should have been faster or it should have been deeper. The film tries to explore deep feelings of guilt and breakdowns but it fails to portray that well, and thus it just feels unbearably slow. The acting is fantastic though, Chiwetel Ejiofor (see here) in particular.
Thank you for reading.