After Simone Burner is attacked by the grandson of a powerful man, she is arrested for the grandson’s murder and mostly everybody in the city turns against her for no particular reason. Therefore, she has to seek out the help of an estranged attorney who doesn’t really like her as her last resort. Meanwhile, there are tons of others subplots are all going on at the same time as other random characters are briefly introduced who have very loose connections to the original point. With so much going on, the question is not what will happen, but will anyone understand what is happening?
Production Quality (2 points)
Virtuous has a professional and adequate production, as evidenced by clear video quality, good camera work, acceptable audio quality, and an intriguing soundtrack. Sets, locations, and props are professionally chosen and presented. On the surface, it seems like Virtuous checked all the necessary boxes to receive a passing score. However, the major detractor here is the horrific editing. Somewhere in post-production, someone needed to sit down and have a serious talk with the JC Films team about whether or not it’s justified to have a 150 minute film that has next to no continuity. This was the editor’s job; however, this was not done, and thus, it leaves a gaping hole in this film.
Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)
As previously mentioned, this perhaps the most convoluted and non-continuous plot in all of our viewing days. With hundreds of subplots that have very little connection to one another, there is no way to make sense of what is going on as the story hops from one random thing to the next. There’s all kinds of intrigue with this local judicial and law enforcement system and how corrupt businessmen are trying to control stuff, plus some stereotypical down-on-his-luck who takes on a seemingly impossible case that has some ties to a non-profit involving Erin Bethea, and this doesn’t even cover the random guy in the hospital and the nurse who takes care of him who also has a questionable position on the jury of the original trial. This previous run-on sentence doesn’t even cover all the points Virtuous tries to expand on. It’s like twelve different people all had ideas and decided to shove them all together into one bloated film. With so much going on, there is no hope for character development as dialogue is stunted and all over the place. The only characters that stand out are strawmen villains, unfortunately. Yet despite all of this massive blending of concepts, there is a really interesting idea somewhere lost in the fray that would be better served in a miniseries format. It’s disappointing to see good ideas go to such waste, especially when it’s like this.
Acting Quality (1.5 points)
With so many cast members, it’s really hard to keep up. This is an unusually large cast for a Christian film, thus making the performances inconsistent and random. Sometimes line delivery and emotional delivery are good, while other times they are not. Overall, it comes out as fairly average.
When you’re in the process of making a film that is over two and a half hours and you actually have the budget to make a film this long, perhaps you need to stop and consider: with so much content, I should make this a series! People love series: just look at the unexplainable success of When Calls the Heart. Why not, instead of making a cumbersome film like this one, try something different and create an interesting genre-busting Christian series. It would be a huge hit. Yet once again, we are left wondering what could have been.
Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points