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Greetings again from the darkness. Film Festivals are often loaded with passion projects from filmmakers who have scratched and clawed to get their movie made usually on a shoestring budget with the help of friends and family. All of this holds true for this film from writer/director Bill McAdams Jr, who delivers a Christian faith-based message movie not one that preaches, but rather tells stories through its characters.
With a seemingly wonderful life a beautiful wife, two terrific kids, and a new business started with his brother Bob Collins (played by Ernie Hudson) experiences the worst tragedy imaginable in the form of a hate crime from a couple of local racist brothers (Rett Terrell, Frank Mosley) who call themselves "the Brotherhood". In response, Bob declares that he is "done with God", and quietly drops from society and isolates himself in the country.
The film's themes include faith, family, and forgiveness while also dealing with deep sorrow, anger, racism, revenge, alcoholism, and entitlement. It also reminds us that each of us has challenges in life, and periodically we need support or assistance. Maybe it's the little girl with a split lip, or the wife whose husband drinks too much, or even the angry young punk who lacks a proper role model.
The messages and approach are admirable, though the scenes featuring Ernie Hudson are clearly a step above all others. His expressive eyes hide nothing, and his transformation from happy father/husband to broken man provides a seminar on fine acting. Other supporting work is provided by Kevin Sorbo, (director) Bill McAdams Jr, Mary Jean Bentley (the director's real life sister), and Marcus Mauldin. With numerous child actors, it's young Megan Dalby as Puck who steals each of her scenes. Here's hoping Miss Dalby sticks with the acting profession.
From a film that lists Jesus in the closing credits under "Thanks", it's not surprising that nuance and subtlety are mostly absent from the script and especially from the score (which is entirely too prominent for the story). Still, the messages are worthy and quite welcome given the times and issues we face. It should also be noted that the post-screening Q&A was moderated by the energetic and always likable Stephen Tobolowski, who made clear his admiration for Ernie Hudson and the movie.
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