Finally. A faith-based film that doesn’t feel like like a Sunday School lesson. Faith-based filmmakers – the bar has been raised.
Captive felt real and gritty and raw. The characters were three-dimensional. They weren’t caricatures. They weren’t sanitized versions of real people. It may have helped that it was a true story. It definitely helped that the actors were phenomenal. Last year, both David Oyelowo and Kate Mara were nominated for awards – he a Golden Globe, she an Emmy.
Oyelowo did an amazing job of making Brian Nichols human. Of making me care about a psychotic escaped convict who had just gone on a five person killing spree — almost feeling sorry for him. Mara brought out the complexity of Ashley Smith’s place in life at the time of the incident. I felt her inner struggle of wanting to get clean so she could be with her daughter, but not being able to stop.
But what I think really made the difference was the attitude of the writer, Brian Bird, and the producers, which included David Oyelowo. In an article in The Atlantic, Bird is quoted as saying, “A lot of the [Christian] films are not up to par. But people are so hungry for them, they’ll go plunk down their $10 for them and watch them. Our goal with Captive was to make a real movie.”
The purpose of a sermon is to share a message. Stories may be told in a sermon, but for the purpose of serving the message. The purpose of a movie is to tell a story. In a movie, every part of it is there for the purpose of serving the story.
In Captive, spiritual elements were part of the movie because they were part of the story. And they fit. They made sense. They didn’t feel superimposed. Though some may think the movie felt like a feature-length commercial for The Purpose Driven Life.* I thought the readings from the book were natural and the characters’ conversations about God fit – made sense – in the intense situation in which they both found themselves.
This movie was an incredible story of how God works in mysterious ways. Ashley Smith quit meth cold turkey that night, with a gun to her head and a deranged killer screaming “Do it!” in her ear. That’s not one of the typical 12 steps. But it was what worked for her. It changed her life forever. In the interview with the real Ashley they played at the end of the movie, Ashley said she just wants people to know that it’s never too late to turn your life around.
A flawed person put in an out-of-the-ordinary situation that pushes them to change. That’s a story.
trailer-purpose-driven-life/ AND http://www.telegraph.co. uk/film/captive/review/