There’s a film hitting (unfortunately) select theaters on September 26. It stars a relative unknown Australian named Alex Russell and features guest roles from Parks and Rec’s Nick Offerman, as well as rap artist Lecrae…
It was written and directed by guys my age. Its subject matter involves Christianity and helping the needy.
And it is the author’s opinion that this movie is going to forever change the way so-called “Christian” movies are perceived by both the faith-based viewing community and the largely oblivious secular crowds.
It’s called “Believe Me.” Here’s a trailer: http://believemefilm.com?hlr=Ez9C60_4
Now, right off the bat, one can tell that this film is made for a broad audience. It’s got professional actors and great sets and a story where the church is…not exactly being the Body of Christ, perhaps. So, what’s so great about that?
1. It’s written and directed by Christians. Will Bakke, Michael B. Allen. These guys starred in a documentary called “Beware of Christians” in which they used a trip across Europe to talk to people there about their perceptions and opinions of Christians and of Jesus Himself. They also grew as people themselves, seeing a larger picture of the world and of the church than the college town environments they lived in allowed for. These are guys who are young, who profess Jesus as more than “savior” and they’ve made a couple of documentaries about that in the past. Now they’ve made a bonafide movie? Yes, please.
2. Story VS. Message. Winner, story. A very legitimate complaint against so-called “Christian” films is that they tend to sacrifice story for the sake of giving the film’s message an over-powered exposure. With a cast of characters that can often seem alien to secular crowds, the message of Christianity doesn’t automatically get the intended reaction by the audience. With “Believe Me,” the goal was clear- tell a story with real characters and don’t saturate it with one emotional appeal or message. Imagine that- a film made by Christians that won’t talk down to its audience, no matter their faith? Yes, please.
3. It exposes the worst things about American Christianity through satire. I’ve not kept secret that I get annoyed with many of the things we Americans have done to try to morph the church (and God) into our comfortable, rich, lovable image. Here, the platform is a stage for people to act on – the lights and music are for manipulation and emotional reaction, and the offering plates are used to steal. It will convict anyone and everyone of what the main character accuses Christians of- wanting an emotional high and wanting to “feel” like they’re helping people rather than do anything of value. A movie that doesn’t pretend people who say “Lord, Lord” are guaranteed into the fold of Christ’s fellowship? (Matthew 7:21-23) Yes, please.
4. Realism. Christianity is real, and the outside world is real. There never was, nor will there ever be, a “Christian culture” here on earth that is separate. It transcends such a classification and has done so for 2,000 years. Here’s a movie made by Christians that will likely depict excessive drinking, crude humor, and a lifestyle that is nothing less than everyday living for dare I say, most people (well, minus trying to steal from people under the guise of providing wells for the poor). This movie is not about censoring what your mom finds offensive. This is about realistic people, with real sins at work, and about what will happen when Christianity as it really is, is encountered. A movie where the characters, Christian or not, are not one-dimensional stereotypes? Yes, please.
I’m callin’ it. Christians who want to make movies in the next decade (or probably longer) will look to this great experiment as an example of the closest thing to a combined effort between believers and non-believers to tell a story on film. I personally cannot wait to see it, and I hope you all will eventually too!
And as the slogan for the movie says, don’t just trust anyone with a platform. Have a nice day!