Producers Peter and Paul Lalonde have taken a bold marketing step in releasing Left Behind as a video in the few months preceding its national release to movie theaters in February 2001.
The filmmakers express the breathless goal of attracting Hollywood producers' attention by filling movie theaters nationwide in February. Actor Kirk Cameron explains the plan in a brief message after the credits. By bringing along many others to see Left Behind, he says, "We will be telling them that there is a strong audience for films with a spiritual message. … We could literally be bursting the doors open for future Left Behind films, and other films like it."
To give Left Behind due praise, it is shot well and its script is fairly efficient. It creates some believable moments of post-Rapture chaos as people try to understand why their Christian loved ones have suddenly disappeared, leaving behind their clothes, eyeglasses, crosses, and even their Teddy bears. (All children are caught up, which makes even the "age of accountability" concept look spiritually stingy by comparison.)
The filmmakers mercifully spare us any special effects depicting millions of naked Christians slowly ascending into heaven. They're simply gone, leaving behind the inevitable car crashes, police curfews, and a frightened society ready for the continuing peace and affluence promised by the Antichrist. For a film about so sensational a topic, Left Behind is fairly restrained.
Compared to other films that depict an apocalyptic world—including The Omega Man (1971), The Day After (1983), The Postman (1997), or Michael Tolkin's The Rapture (1991)—Left Behind holds up remarkably well. Certainly it surpasses the production values and direction of the many Rapture ...1
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