When Albert and Aimee Anderson move to a small town to pastor the local church, they expect all the typical things of a small town church, but nothing in their lives ever prepared them for what happened soon after they arrived. After discovering the dead bodies of their two newest and closest friends, the Andersons are left reeling in the aftermath as they entire church turns to them for guidance during this dark time. However, answers escape them as the culprit seems elusive and the townspeople grow restless and anxious. Will evil ever be brought to justice? Will they be able to recover a sense of normalcy?
Production Quality (1.5 points)
As a whole, A Murder of Innocence has a mostly fine production, including good video quality and fine sets, locations, and props, even if they are a bit limited in scope. A lot of the time, the audio is extremely quiet and muffled, and the soundtrack is either lacking or overpowering. Also, camera work is inconsistent–sometimes shaky and sometimes fine. Further, the editing is a concern as there are many awkward fadeouts throughout after scenes have gone on too long while some scenes have very quick transitions that cut things off. It seems like there was more content or some that wasn’t usable, so a lot of it appears to relate to post-production issues. Overall, this is just an average production, which isn’t quite up to modern standards.
Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)
Although it initially was a good idea to use a true story to try something a bit different, yet much time is wasted on silent montages and clunky dialogue as everything feels very scripted and robotic, especially the ‘perfect’ Christian characters. Instead of actual character development, we’re just left with offensive gender stereotypes that paint women as less intelligent than men. Besides this, the plot is largely based on very shallow concepts and doesn’t appear to comprehend reality very well. Throughout the story, there’s a mysteriously odd tone like it’s concealing some great secret, but it all comes to nothing substantial. If you’re going to write mystery plot, you need to make sure you’ve done your homework to make criminal investigations realistic and believable. It feels like there’s too much going on here that the writers don’t quite understand, which creates the odd mysticism. Besides this, a vast majority of the scenes are slow and dour without much balance or adequate character engagement as the plot drags on and on and chases fruitless rabbit trails. After using up over an hour teasing a possibly forthcoming purpose via dramatic dialogue and randomly extra subplots, there’s little to show for the effort. While it’s commendable to try a suspense plot centered around mental health in rural areas, the very steep character arcs and magical fixes in the final minutes really do the film in, especially since there’s nothing to hold the audience’s interest or make the film worthwhile. Without a central focus, the movie meanders and flounders until a conclusion.
Acting Quality (1.5 points)
Much like the other elements of the film, the acting is a bit stifled and lifeless as it comes off as over-practiced. In conjunction with the audio problems, the line delivery itself is very soft and almost muted most of the time. However, the acting is at least average in most places without any majorly glaring errors or standout performances. Though there is some unnecessary drama, this section rounds out a basically vanilla effort.
The good thing is that Christian entertainment is becoming broader and braver as time goes on. There was a time when mystery suspense dramas like A Murder of Innocence would have been unthinkable in some Christian circles, but thankfully, there are at least attempts to be more creative and diverse. However, there are still things to work on, most notably plot and character content. This was based on a true story, so it’s not really acceptable to have such poor characters, along with an aimless storyline. Next time, before making a Christian film, it would be better to count the cost and make sure there’s enough creativity and purpose behind it. The only stories that will be transformative are the ones that feel like real life.
Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points
I got the feeling throughout the movie that the pastor had something to do with the murders. All of the sub plots went nowhere. The crazy lady , the crazy old man with shovel, the son that suspected everyone, the dreams that the pastors wife had etc. WOW! The most mixed up movie that I have ever seen.
Has there ever been a Christian movie where the premise was not some white guy moving to a small town to be the new pastor?
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The ones where a big city character gets stuck in the country :p
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I quote from the ‘negative’ review:
“especially the ‘perfect’ Christian characters. Instead of actual character development, we’re just left with offensive gender stereotypes that paint women as less intelligent than men. Besides this, the plot is largely based on very shallow concepts and doesn’t appear to comprehend reality very well.”
Sometimes it is hard for some people to accept the fact that there are “actual” educated intelligent people that do not fight and lie to each other. And, where the husband is very loving, tender, kind, and gentle with his wife and children, and, the wife honors and respects her wonderful loving and gentle husband. My husband, Albert, was one of those ‘rare’ men. And, of course the more loving he was to me the more I gave him my undying love, for ’59’ years, when he died from a faulty heart valve. Thus, many times, Christians who love God with all of their hearts and love their spouses and children with all of their hearts, they are called, “perfect” Christian characters, and many times it is hard to consider them “actual” real people.
I think the person who wrote this review is all mixed up on what really is a “shallow’ concept. Some things that really happened, are so unreal, yet, very real, were left out of the movie. The plot of this AMOI is NOT based on very “shallow concepts” and it comprehends reality very well in the Anderson family. This movie has ‘real true depth and meaning’ to it. AMOI is very ‘Inspirational.’
My son, Jonathan, and I were watching the movie, again, yesterday, when he expressed again to me, how refreshing it was to see a different (original) kind of movie, without fighting, lying, and offensive language. Jonathan is a College educated very smart man. He did not want the Bible and prayers to be taken out of our movie (A MURDER OF INNOCENCE), because that was the way it was in our family, in real true life, and, even more so. God and the things of God meant and still mean everything to my husband, Albert, and me and our children. Spiritual language, Spiritual things and the Church were a daily diet.
Thank you for sharing your personal perspective on this story. Sometimes, real life doesn’t always come through as it should in movie form 🙂 We appreciate your putting yourselves out there, and hopefully, some people will be reached with your story. God bless!
Well Said BoxOfficeRevolutionary!
The one where the estranged child has to take over the family business following the sudden death of their parent/parents and suffer through awkward interactions with their estranged siblings and former friends.