A confession: Many Christian film critics, myself included, are terrified to review movies that are explicitly religious in nature. While we yearn for the church to produce work of exquisite spiritual and creative value, we've all seen too many films whose hearts are in the right place, but utterly collapse when measured against even the most lenient yardstick of artistic quality. More often than not, Christian films preach to the choir, depend upon stock stereotypes and situations, have little regard for artistic integrity, and assume that their Christo-centric nature gives them a pass despite poor production values. Complicating matters further, the Christian film critic wants to encourage future quality productions without alienating both those who make them as well as those who watch them. It is a razor-thin and often treacherous line.
But we have come a long way. Not so long ago, the Christian community looked upon film as the devil's domain and shunned it entirely. Lately, the church seems to be taking a far more sacramental approach, recognizing that the sacred amidst the profane is what being a Christian is all about. However, we still have a long way to go. We must make films that speak to the fallen human condition without being afraid to realistically reflect the truth of that condition, no matter how grimy, as well as reveal the truth of God's power to work in and through it to bring about total transformation.
Noë lle is a good start. Decidedly and overtly religious in nature, it nonetheless manages to generally balance its message with its medium in such a way that should interest believers and non-believers alike.
Writer/director David Wall, who looks astonishingly like a young Robert Redford, also plays ...1
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