End of the Spear (2005) Poster

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Really well done and important film
balticblond7 January 2006
Jim Hanon's new film, "End of the Spear" comes to us in a new tradition started by David Cunningham's "To End All Wars". Over the past 2 years a growing number of films have begun to appear with a believable spiritual connection. I'm happy to say this is another one that hits a home run when it comes to telling a great story without stripping out real life spirituality-- something that is integral to most people's life.

The film brings us the important story of Christian missionaries killed during their first efforts to meet an isolated band of Ecuadoran native people embroiled in a cycle of violence. "End of the Spear" tells the story from the perspective of a tribal leader and the child of one of the missionaries that died.

I think if you keep in mind this is an independent film shot on a restricted budget, you'll be pleased with most technical aspects-- cinematography, sound etc.

You'll also love the actors that were just great. Louie Leonardo does a wonderful job portraying Waodani tribesman Mincayani in the lead role. You also have to give credit to young Chase Ellison in his role as young Steve Saint, whose pilot father died.

The role of religions in transforming culture is a hot button issue these days. This film doesn't take that head on, but presents a balanced realistic view, and perhaps an alternative aspect that most critics generally don't acknowledge.

There were weaknesses in the film also, but none that distracted much from the story. There were a few bits that might have been served by further character and story development-- the son's issues in particular.

All in all, this is a wonderful film with a great message of reconciliation. I hope we see more like this.
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A wonderful movie for your eyes and your heart
Philip Lindquist29 December 2005
End of the Spear is a beautifully crafted movie about one of the great missionary stories of the 20th century, but it is not a preachy kind of movie. The story is simply told and allowed to stand on its own. The story is one of those that would not be believable on the big screen if it were not true in all of its essential points. The beautiful jungle scenery (the movie was shot in Panama) is well worth the price of the ticket. But the story will make you think about how self-giving love is more powerful than violence. The story also shows that extraordinary risks taken for peace can pay dividends beyond imagination. This will be a movie that people will be talking about, and watching again and again, far into the future. You'll be sorry if you don't take the opportunity to see it on the big screen. You'll also wonder why an independent film company can make such a wonderful movie when Hollywood is making bad movies based on old TV shows.
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Truly Moving Picture
tollini16 January 2006
I am a judge for the Indianapolis-based Heartland Film Festival. This feature film is a Crystal Heart Award Winner and won the $50,000 Grand Prize in October of 2005. The Heartland Film Festival is a non-profit that honors Truly Moving Pictures. A Truly Moving Picture "…explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life."

The film, which is based on a true story, starts in 1956 in the Amazon basin in Ecuador. Five missionaries are savagely killed by a primitive tribe. But that is the beginning of the story and not the end of the story.

The missionaries' wives and children take on the work of their fathers and husbands. They and we, the audience, are forced to examine violence and how we react to violence and the possibility of forgiving the perpetrators of violence.

The missionaries and their families display incredible human traits. They display courage in the face of danger – they are willing to sacrifice a normal life to help others – they show respect and tolerance to primitive people. But most impressive of all, they retain their humility and do not look down on others.

The cinematography and music are stunning. The Amazon jungle becomes the third character along with the tribe and the missionaries. And all three characters relentlessly attempt to survive and prevail.

FYI – There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a listing of past Crystal Heart winners that are now either at the theater or available on video.
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Critic's Choice! a new era in movie making
filmcritic5418 January 2006
Absolutely amazing cinematography and storyline, and best of all the story isn't made up, its a true to life story shown from the tribe's point of view. The quality of the film is superb. The storyline will keep you on the edge of your seat in suspense through the entire movie. There are also some bonus "blooper" clips played during the credits of the movie. You would not know that director Jim Hanon was a first time director but rather you would think he had been in the business for years. This film will help inspire the way future films are shot and created. This also highlights and shows some insight into the burgeoning film industry coming out of Oklahoma City. This scene is set to take off and provide Hollywood with a new generation of film makers.

Reconciliation is the word that best describes this captivating film. Most people can forgive someone but they don't move on or exclude people from their lives. This true to life story gives a glimpse into Steve Saint's life. His father Nate Saint, was one of the 5 men brutally killed to death in 1956 by a Waodani tribesman. Today, he travels the world with the exact man that killed his father back then. In fact, he even considers him family and calls him "grandfather". To forgive someone is one thing, to show our violent society how to be completely reconciled with one another can rarely be said in today's world. Go see this true story and decide for yourself!!!
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Five missionaries are brutally murdered by a violent native tribe in Ecuador. One of the wives and a sister then go to live with the tribe to model unconditional love.
connectwoodbridge10 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This outstanding movie tells the story of five missionaries who were speared to death by the Waodani tribe of Ecuador in 1956. It is based on the book "Through Gates of Splendor" by Elisabeth Elliot and the story featured in "LIFE" magazine after the incident occurred.

The movie traces the event from two perspectives - the Waodani tribe itself, and Steve Saint (orphaned son of jungle pilot Nate Saint who first made contact). This creates amazing tension as the pain and humanity of the incident is seen through the eyes of people directly affected on both sides of the slaying.

One of the most striking features of this film is the participation of indigenous actors. The actual location in Ecuador was too remote for a film crew, so the producers were able to locate a remote tribe in Panama that agreed to play the part of the Waodani. Although these people had never even seen a movie before, they understood the concept of the incident, and were willing to help bring the amazing story to a wider audience.

This is the first time the Waodani were willing to tell the story. They were told about Columbine and other incidents of violence. The Waodani leaders apparently said that if the men were willing to come 50 years ago to help them learn not to kill one another, that they would do the film in hopes that it would help others learn not to kill. They then became consultants for the film.

The cinematography is very good, with some striking scenes in the jungle. The actor who portrays the Waodani warrior-chief, Mincayani, is outstanding. The scene where Nate and Steve Saint say goodbye is incredibly moving, as both recognize that the father may not return. Steve chasing his dad's plane down the makeshift runway is a serious tear-jerker.

There are some intense scenes of violence that are probably too strong for younger children, although I believe the producers took the high road on showing the actual spearing.

The love demonstrated by the women who were willing to go and live with the tribe is simply amazing. They chose to live among the very men who murdered their loved ones (in part to prevent the government from going in and wiping the Waodani out)and to care for the sick and dying of both the Waodani and their rivals. This showed the tribe that the cycle of revenge-based violence they had been living under for centuries did nothing but decimate the tribe itself, and that there was a better way.

Over the next two years, the tribal leaders began to accept that they could live and prosper without murdering one another, and be at peace with their rivals. It is said that the murder rate dropped by 90%.

We were fortunate enough to see this film at a screening, and greatly look forward to seeing it again. It garnered two rounds of applause from the audience. Stick around during the credits to see the actual footage from when the real Mincayani came to the US with Steve Saint. Highly recommended.
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Outstanding Film & Story!!!!!
movielover-2313 January 2006
Could you truly love the people that killed your family members and friends? What if it was a gross misunderstanding (can anyone say Iraq War)? The kind of stuff more movies should be made of! I got to attend a screening here in NYC that apparently coincided with the 50th anniversary of this true event.

I'm not sure why or how this movie has escaped the attention of most major media. The movie websites says it's releasing in 1,200 theaters in a week. Maybe the media is biased because part of the story is about missionaries. I don't know about the rest of you, but this is the first movie I've been to in a while that is actually worth $9 for a ticket.

I think most people might think that loving your father's killer is a little sick, but when the movie unfolds and you understand the clash between the two cultures, it make sense.

If you like The Mission (Robert Dinero, Jeremy Irons), Chariots of Fire, or Last of the Mohicans, you will enjoy this movie!
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Excellent movie
mmhuff19 January 2006
This is a wonderful movie about the human spirit. It was beautifully and lovingly made by people who were truly moved by the story. We watched in a screening at the University I work at and the Producer came to speak about the project and how he got involved. I and 1300 others watched the movie, in folding chairs, yet we were not uncomfortable at all because the movie is so enrapturing that you just don't notice your surroundings at all. The majority of the audience was college aged students and I've never seen them so moved, and amazingly quiet, for such a long time. I believe that this movie will have a great impact on the lives of all who see it. I highly recommend it.
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This film rocks
ricroc-15 December 2005
I had a chance to view this film at the National Missionary Convention. All I have to say about it....IT ROCKS! A great film. Very inspiring. I will see it again and I will spend top dollar to see it. When it is available to purchase, I will be the first in line. The film was beautifully made, and was true to the actual story of the five missionaries who gained their lives by reaching the Waodani. I was moved, shocked, brought to tears as I viewed this realistic portrayal. I would not recommend allowing children under 10 to view. Nothing horrific, just some hard imagery to digest. Would open the door for 20 questions after they viewed the film. I am going to allow my 10 year to see it. Again...GREAT FILM!!! GREAT MESSAGE,
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go see this!
tomstoerzbach18 January 2006
I got to see a sneak preview several weeks ago, and you really need to go and see if this changes your view of what movies can do!

The creators of this film were deeply moved when they learned of the original true-life event this film is based on, and they poured their all into making a film that would reach people on a more spiritual level than most Hollywood fare these days, without being preachy (thank heavens), and while maintaining the natural lure of an adventure story. See if you agree that they succeeded!

It really doesn't matter if you know the historical true life story or not -- your heart will be pounding, then broken, then softened, and finally strengthened as you emerge a different person.
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Finally an accurate depiction of how faith motivates
PScott Cummins19 January 2006
What Mel Gibson "risked" in bringing "The Passion of the Christ" to the screen, so did Mart Green to realize the story of "End of the Spear" - a truly inspiring must-see film that outlines the interaction of American missionaries with isolated people in the jungles of Ecuador in 1956. In an era when Americans - and particularly Evangelical Christians - are subject to stereotype and ridicule around the world, this movie has another perspective on what is in the hearts of those who follow Christ. I sincerely hope that Mart Green and the rest of the team that worked to realize this true story on film, will receive acknowledgment for what they have accomplished. They certainly have my appreciation and respect. See this movie, and bring friends, particularly people who do not know this kind of faith in their lives. This is a story of transformational love which will not be lost on anyone.

Though some mainstream media critics and virulent anti-Christians will be especially harsh to a non-Hollywood financed motion picture that succeeds in getting its message across, please don't be discouraged by their cynicism. It is is true that this movie doesn't have some of the computer-generated nuances of a big budget film. And it is true that an acting performance or two among the cast is uneven. And it is true that this movie would have benefited mightily from a script make-over and a big-budget editing team. But that is just the point - those very elements of the film-making support the raw, edgy nature of the setting and plot for the story.

My favorite reviewer comment comes from John Niccum of the Lawrence, Kansas Journal-World: "This generally engrossing Christian parable is the type of film that conservatives will over-praise and liberals will over-criticize."

Which is fair comment. And supports strongly the observation that a large number of the public wants many more of these kinds of films - and those that don't acknowledge the power of these stories. So let them carp about imperialism and all else - it will only help draw the fair-minded into the theater for their own analysis. "End of the Spear" will make the point that perhaps they have never experienced about love and redemption.

Oh, and like everyone else says: stick around for the credits!
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