Nationally acclaimed evangelist John Luther is the last obstacle in the way of sweeping religious reform in the States. When a U.S. Senator and Luther's own supporters abduct and frame him in the murder of an innocent teenage girl, an unprecedented era of persecution is unleashed. Out on personal recognizance, Luther escapes police surveillance in search of the truth. And suddenly a once-normal life is targeted by a team of ex-military operatives who wage a relentless campaign to eliminate the incriminating evidence. As evangelist turned fugitive, Luther vows to expose anyone involved with, or profiting from, the girl's murder. It's a mission that brings him face-to-face with the coming storm of persecution that will threaten the entire American Christian community.Written by
I had expected much more of this film. I've been looking forward to it for months, having read about it in Brad Stine's e-mail newsletter. I had liked it on Facebook, saw all the trailers and news feed updates, and had high expectations. Well, I saw it this afternoon, and left feeling cheated.
I'm an evangelical Christian and a Tea Party conservative. In my mind, it is not outside the realm of possibility that it may one day become illegal to practice my faith. The Bible and the Constitution are both under attack in today's America. So I had hoped that this film would be a great dramatization about how that just might come to pass, because that's what all the hype pointed to. Well, if that's what they tried to make, they failed. Maybe my expectations on that front were too high. But it's not even a particularly good movie.
None of the characters are likable, and there is no time given for any real character development. Those who are supposed to be Christians are hardly shining examples for the faith, not what one would have expected from these producers. Brad Stine's character is particularly odious, and given that he's a Christian comedian, and listed as a co-producer, I have to wonder what he was thinking about. The "bad guys" are pretty much boilerplate. Fred Thompson plays the most sympathetic character, but his effect is diluted because his relationship with the preacher is not explained early enough. (Plus, I couldn't get his reverse-mortgage commercials out of my head!)
The music is ominous from the beginning, never seeming to stop, and the lighting is dark and stark. You can't support a nightmare scenario without first setting up normalcy. This film never does. The plot progression is confusing and portions of the action are not credible. There are some good production values, and I suppose it works on some levels as an action thriller, but I found it largely unsatisfying.
I had read some negative reviews this morning, but figured they were just examples of non-Christians who felt threatened. We've seen that with good films with a Christian message such as "Courageous," "Fireproof," and "October Baby." Turns out that this time, the secular reviewers were unfortunately right on. "Persecuted" is not what it was advertised to be. It is a huge disappointment.
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