Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I Am

Sometimes "Christian" movies are pretty good.  Often, they stink.  But I have to give some credit to aspiring filmmakers who try to make high quality movies with a Christian message.  The most successful recent church-based movies have been from Sherwood Baptist Church in Georgia.  Their movies, Flywheel, Facing the Giantsand Fireproof were pretty decent, if a little on the sappy side.  Last year, New Song Community Church in Southern California produced To Save a Life.  Now Mariners Church in Irvine, California has produced I Am.

I really wanted to like this movie.  It has a cooler, darker, grittier vibe than the Sherwood movies.  The style seems to have been influenced by movies like Crash or Traffic (both of which I really liked).  Unfortunately, I Am's execution is but a poor reflection of those movies.  Everything was there technically.  The acting was passable, at least as good as a decent TV show.  But the story, or interlocking stories, I should say, just didn't click.  The storylines were stilted and the characters and scenarios were cheap stereotypes.
Some scenes were filmed in this super awesome looking Mariners Church wedding chapel.
This movie grew out of a series of videos produced for a Mariners Church Bible study on the Ten Commandments.  I don't really even see that they provide much fodder for discussion. Maybe some people struggle with decisions like whether to cryogenically preserve themselves, whether to claim credit for their late rock star son's song, or whether to kill the man whose medical experiments claimed my wife's life.  Is there value in using extreme situations to illustrate the struggles we all have with sin?  I think they just make it easier to excuse ourselves, like the old, "I know I'm not the greatest guy who ever lived, but I'm not as bad as Hitler" kind of argument.

So kudos the Mariners Church for the effort, but what a shame that the movie wasn't any better.  Not that great from the perspective of simple movie watching pleasure, and not that great for spiritual reflection.

Bottom line, 1 star.

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