|Index||4 reviews in total|
You wont find any surprises in the plot. It's a story that's been done many times over, some successfully, most not so much. But, what makes this one stand out as successful is the excellent acting by the recognizable older faces, as well as the young actors. Shot, scored, and directed very simply, the locations and music add perfect compliment to the casually paced yet not slow story progression. Job well done by the director, composer and cinematographer, for not letting their own visions overshadow a movie that rightfully is about the characters. This is by no means a happy movie, but despite the heavy storyline, you will find yourself with a smile as the credits begin to roll, a smile that feels organic, not forced. Fine movie making.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
***MAJOR SPOILERS*** The film in covering the explosive subject of
sexual abuse in the Catholic Church takes the middle ground in showing
that as shocking as it is there's also a lot of exploitation on the
part of some of the so-called victims and their family members to use
the false charges of sexual abuse among the priests and nuns in the
church for strictly monetary reasons. It's Father Andre James, Isaiah
Washington, who should know better then most in what a false accusation
of sexual abuse against a priest can do. He in fact was guilty of that
charge back at St.Matthews where unknowingly he had his best friend
Father Mark Roberts, Lance Guest,thrown out of the priesthood by
backing up a false accusation of sexual abuse against him. That was
concocted by a student and his family that, in losing a major law civil
suite, ended up bankrupting St.Matthews.
Depressed guilt ridden and almost suicidal in what he did to his friend Mark Roberts, who's now unemployed and an alcoholic, Father Andre James is given a second chance to make up for his mistake by Father William Jennings, Robert Loggia, at his Allentide Catholic Boys Boarding School. It's in fact at Allentide where years ago a 12 years old student Andre James was himself sexually abused by a priest Father Whitman. That incident was not only covered up by the school but it left Andre emotionally scared for life.
As a teacher in the school Father James senses that student Parker Remy, Gordon Garrett, seems to be suffering from the results of being sexually abused by his very unstable and paranoid actions as well as being on anti psychotic medication. As Father James digs farther into Parker's background he finds out that he was very close to a Father Collins who had since disappeared into thin air after he was transferred form the school. Checking on what the relationship was between Parker & Father Collins Father James is shocked to find out that Father Collins was in fact involved in a number of sexual abuse incidents with students in Catholic schools that he once taught in!
As Father James starts to uncover facts about the missing Father Collins his superiors in the school begin to uncover what he himself was involved in back at St. Matthews where he ended up disappearing into thin air, like Father Collins did, for two years.
***SPOILERS***Still not deterred by the accusations thrown against him Father James with his job in Allentide hanging on a thread tracks down the reason that Father Collins disappeared and it was not of his own choosing. It was murder! And the person who murdered Father Collins was in fact one of the many students that he abused in the school! And what's even worse it was the schools headmaster Father William Jennings, who gave Father James his job there, who covered up the murder and ended up hiding the body by dumping it, wrapped in a body bag, into a nearby lake to keep the truth about Father Collins actions from seeing the light of day! As well as setting the stage for a major law suite against Allentide that would end up bankrupting the school!
Even handed in its theme, sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, the movie does in fact cop out a bit by sugar coating the fact that it's only a few and in this case only one individual, Father Jennings, who's involved in covering the abuse up. It's hard for me to believe that Father Jennings could have done all this in not only covering up Father Collins actions but even deep sixing his body all by himself without the knowledge and even help of his fellow priests in the school. The big plus in the film is Isaiah Washington depiction of the guilt ridden Father Andre James who despite what he did in the past as well as the sexual abuse he suffered, at the hands of Father Whitman, was still able to put that all aside and not let it interfere in his investigation what happened to Father Collins. And getting to the bottom of not only who ended up murdering father Collins but what he himself did to put it, his being murdered, into motion.
At a small Catholic High School in Connecticut, everyone knows everyone elses business. One priest has mysteriously disappeared, while another has come to take his place. That priest is former student, Andre James (Isaiah Washington), who from the very beginning knows he isn't entirely welcome at his old school, which he comes to find holds many old secrets. I'm always a bit weary of films that are centered on religion, because if isn't done just right the film is ruined. If there isn't enough of a religious angle, the film isn't believable, but if there's too much, it feels like you're being converted. The Least of These manages to strike a perfect balance, as religion is a part of the story, but it doesn't dominate every aspect of the film. The true heart of this film is in it's mysteries, such as what happened to the old priest and what's this new guy all about? Isaiah Washington stars in what turns out to be the first serious role I've seen him play, and he is outstanding. Father James is battling his own demons and for all the good he wants to do, a part of him doesn't feel entirely comfortable in his new surroundings. Quite ingeniously, Washington is able to portray this not through words, but through his demeanor, which changes as the story progresses. Washington is paired with Jordan Garrett who is always very likable no matter what type of character he is playing. It doesn't matter if he's playing an evil kid on Law & Order or the innocent victim in Death Sentence, Garrett somehow always manages to connect with the audience and get them pulling for his character. In this film, he plays an introverted outcast, who seems to be devastated by the disappearance of Father Collins. After connecting with Father James, the boy opens up and becomes yet another mystery of the old school. The Least of These was pretty entertaining and I suspect that a lot of the bad user reviews come from people who didn't make it through the whole film. I agree that it starts out slow and takes forever to get moving, but once it does, it really is a terrific story told by a stellar cast.
I had no idea what I was in store for when Virgil (my partner) brought
home this DVD... Virgil had fallen asleep so I settled down with a bag
of Lay's chips and a glass of Dr. Pepper to watch "The Least of These"
starring Isaiah Washington...needless to say I am writing this review
as I was riveted to this story and fell uncontrollably into simple yet
acute adoration for all, even Jason, in this cast. I have two sons of
my own, and a grandson so I am a bit biased...but please know this
story really touched me in a way I have not felt in a long, long
time...Thank you to the producers and the cast as well as all the souls
who brought this project to completion - God bless and keep each one of
you and your families and friends.
Seattle's Coletha ;-}
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