The best of…Christian cinema


20 Monday 20th December 2010
The Left Behind series

Released in 2000 and based on a bestselling series of novels – which in turn draw on the Book of Revelation – this is the series that started it all. The first instalment situates the viewer squarely in the midst of the Rapture, when thousands of people disappear of the face of the earth, much to the chagrin of those who remain. We subsequently learn that those that have disappeared have ascended directly into heaven. The rest of the trilogy deals with those “left behind” suffering through the continuing apocalypse, in the face of the Antichrist and the New World Order (The UN and its devious Secretary-General, Nicolae Carpathia).
A fun game to play in the first half hour of the film is guessing which characters will make the cut for ascension. Clue: if they’ve got a nose piercing, work on a Sunday and/or are cheating on their wife, their chances are slim.


Kirk Cameron, who played the initially sceptical but ultimately pious Buck Williams in Left Behind, also stars in this, the biggest grossing independent film of 2008. It is the story of a firefighter’s marriage saved through God, and is about as good as that sounds.
A tie-in website for the film ( sells merchandise, including anti-pornography software, a reference to a key moment in the film when Cameron’s battle with his addiction to internet skin sites causes him to smash his computer with a baseball bat.
Fireproof is the most recent film co-written, directed and produced by Alex Kendrick, a minister from Georgia and head of Sherwood Pictures, which specialises in evangelical cinema.


Facing the Giants


Another film from the Kendrick stable, this time starring the man himself, is 2006’s Facing the Giants, which tacks a Christian teleology onto a classic high school American football genre film. Highlights include a scene with a kicker who can’t get it between the posts, prompting the assistant coach to sagely ask, “Now what would scripture say about this?” It’s enough to make you praise God for the dubious pleasures of films like Remember the Titans.

 Noteworthy dialogue: “Stay sharp, stay focused, pray hard and honour God” and “You won the big one…when you accepted Christ”.


Letters to God


For those who can’t wait, just released on DVD is Letters to God. Writing letters to God, apparently, is “like texting your best friend” (A bit like that hideous poster on the Rainbow Theatre over in Finsbury Park). It stars Jeffrey Johnson as a diet coke Jimmy McNulty, who takes an interest in a child with cancer. Be warned though: this one will test the reserves of even die-hard lovers of kitsch.


Saving God

Stars Ving Rhames (Yes, Marsellus Wallace) as a streetwise priest who calls for a new breed of 'Thug Christian'. Need I say anything else?

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