The story of Patty, a young woman caught up in living for the present with little concern for the future. She meets and marries a young man and her life seems great, until one moment she ... See full summary »
Final and least well-known installment in the Mark IV series of fundamentalist apocalypse films. About to be executed by the forces of the Antichrist, fundamentalist Christian guerrilla ... See full summary »
Donald W. Thompson
William Wellman Jr.,
Terri Lynn Hall
The second film, A Thief in the Night being the first, A Distant Thunder continues the story of Patty, a young woman living in the "end times" referred to in biblical prophecy. This action ... See full summary »
Third and best known entry in the Mark IV series of fundamentalist apocalypse films. Fundamentalist Christian guerrilla David helps condemned dissidents escape, attempts to subvert the ... See full summary »
Donald W. Thompson
William Wellman Jr.,
There were a number of movies between the 1970s and 1990s meant to spread lifestyle evangelism in accordance with the spirit that says: "The world needs witnesses far more than preachers." By referring to particular lives and focusing on the power of good example given to people, the producers aimed at spreading the Gospel by means of cinema. That aim is always fresh, always worth high appreciation. Yet, the question arises how they manage to achieve this goal. While some do pretty well resulting in valuable productions, some fail resulting in poorly executed movies. To the latter category, we can relate this movie made with no special effort, no clever script, no talented cast.
It is a story of people who help others. Though the content seems simple and meaningful, it results in an unconvincing and barely genuine work. As for the tribute to the people whose everyday existence is filled with life flights, the film does a fine job: it shows us what their work is really like, what dangers they are exposed to, what aims accompany them. However, as for fluent action, continuity, scenes and performances, the film lames terribly. What happens, for instance, to the mother harmed with a gun by her little daughter? Is Eric really born again? We see him improving in health but do Michael's words leave some trace in his soul? C.J. Reynolds gets the upgrade he has been dreaming of for years but where? The clearest story is Rob's whose conscience directs him towards admitting the cheat about fish and finally brings him to good deeds. The symbolic final moment has the sense only when applied to Rob but the rest of characters remain chaotic, pale and totally undeveloped.
The same lack of logic is found when we analyze particular moments of the movie. I don't think that anyone may get the right impression after seeing Lynda and C.J. battling with pillows, which is neither funny nor meaningful. The same can be said about many scenes with Michael. He spreads the Gospel but human is not a sort of machine that says what others tell him/her. It is, first of all, the example of life, of deeds that moves and powerfully affects other people. The way he tells Rob about the Bible as a collection of codes and instructions is absolutely naive, inaccurate and unconvincing. As for these moments, I also wondered what the director meant by showing us the little girl shooting at her mother... Later, we do not get any development of that plot.
The performances are very weak. The cast here seem to act but no one is convincing enough to develop a character in a right and satisfactory way. This flawed art of performing makes the film hardly pleasant to watch. The only person who does an acceptable job is, in my opinion, Jim McMullan in the role of C.J. Reynolds. However, even this praise meets controversy. I encountered some critical views accusing McMullan of stealing people's attention more by nice looks than true talent.
Therefore, there is not much to say about this movie. I believe that it's better to make one very good and clever film on Christian lifestyle than make a few that occur to be boring and meaningless. I watched the film expecting something ambitious but I encountered sheer disappointment. Although some script may be educational (for which I rate the movie 4/10), the whole film is, unfortunately, not entertaining at all. 4/10
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