"....Filled with plenty of heart that will touch your soul."
Smuggler's Ransom Starring: Anthony Tyler Quinn, Marina Resa, Alexandra Harber, & Katherine Norland. Written & Directed by Brandon Rice & Daniel Noa
Some of the best movies I've ever seen were the independent low-budget films that came out of nowhere and made a huge impact upon everyone who views them. In reviewing Christian films, I'm accustomed to seeing low budget productions, but I have the ability to see past the quality, and see the heart, passion, and character behind the film, instead of how much money was put into it. As we all know, it's the STORY that truly makes a film shine or not, and how well that story was executed with what the cast and crew had to work with.
When I saw the opening scene for 'Smuggler's Ransom', watching a masked runner trek across the desert on a mission began to intrigue me. This was a wonderful job at setting up one of our main characters and giving us an insight into what his job is. Bill Donely works for the US Government, protecting top-secrets from international spies, and any undercover job that is assigned to him. After watching him complete one job, we see him receiving a whole new mission which sets up the premise of this film.
The daughter of a Soviet Nuclear Physicist, under US Protection, is discovered smuggling bibles in Romania. The communist party is willing to trade his daughter's freedom for his surrender back to their country, but the United States isn't willing to negotiate. Instead, they send in Bill Donely on a top-secret rescue mission to bring her back home safe and sound. Bill prepares for this new mission, but what he doesn't prepare for, is the impact that a young Christian bible smuggler can make on his life and how strong-willed she is to follow her own set of rules.
Anthony Tyler Quinn does a brilliant job as Bill Donely. Most of his work has been limited to small roles in popular television shows, but here, he gets a great opportunity to showcase his talent in a starring role. His on-screen presence is convincing, and very professional.
Playing opposite to Quinn is Marina Resa, who stars as Carman Gonsolo, the young bible smuggler. Her experience in acting is not as full as Quinn's, but with talent like this, it wont be long before we see her in more projects. Her presence is effective and strong. She delivers her lines with conviction and passion, which makes me wonder if she's already adopted the message of her characters faith, as her own.
The story is filled with enough action, suspense and drama to keep the pace rolling and doesn't depend on the gospel message alone to entertain you. But it doesn't lack on it either. The salvation message is clearly delivered and beautifully presented. I was impressed with the timing of it, and the way it fit into the story, without disrupting the pace.
Beautifully shot, and well directed, 'Smuggler's Ransom' has earned it's right among some of the better works of 'Christian' film. The only drawback, besides some minor lighting issues, would be the features length. 'Smuggler's Ransom' clocks in at just 45 minutes and ends rather suddenly. I was actually left wanting more, and since it was so short, I felt I deserved a bit more. How I wish we could have seen a reunion between her and her father back in America, and a follow-up to the already-saw-it-coming redemptive scene, which falls close to the end.
Had we been given more, this would rate more as a full-length feature, but instead it felt more like a short film by a group of well-seasoned filmmakers with a lot of heart, but low on cash.
"HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, 'Smuggler's Ransom' is filled with plenty of heart that will touch your soul." - OneWayFilms
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