In 1861, the rumblings of the Civil War were just beginning and the work of the Underground Railroad was in full swing. Christians from the Union bravely joined the slavery abolition movement and saved runaway slaves from their evil masters. Both the Confederacy and the Union armies pressed their male citizens into military service. A group of friends and families is followed as they make brave and heroic decisions that forever alter the course of American history.
Production Quality (1.5 points)
Though this is an obviously amateurish production, a lot of time and money was spent on making sure that the sets, locations, and props of this film were historically realistic. They succeeded in this goal, but it was at the expense of other production elements. Camera work is fine, especially in the action scenes, but video quality is blurry at times. Audio quality is fine, but the soundtrack is a bit generic. Furthermore, there is a lot of wasted time and one too many dead scenes, which reflects poor editing, even though there is a lot of content to use here. Nevertheless, this is at least an average production that spends time making certain elements good; it is at the very least a starting point for greater things in the future.
Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)
Though this is a period of history that is very much under-explored in Christian film and though there is a lot of potentially interesting content in The Light of Freedom, this film is a collection of random disjointed stories that have no real correlation or driving focus. Care is given to historical accuracy, but with this comes archaic Shakespearean dialogue that the viewers cannot relate to. Most scenes are full of information dumps that do not allow the content to develop naturally. All of the subplots and characters presented need further development so that we can get to know them better and truly understand how we can relate to what is happening. The purpose of these stories, aside from the historical content, is quite vague, even though there are plenty of opportunities for overarching themes here. The sheer amount of scenes that contain characters sitting around and talking about trite ideas is frustrating because this time could be given instead to truly character-building, focused, and meaningful content. In short, while we can see a lot of potential in this story, it’s disappointing that it does not follow through.
Acting Quality (1.5 points)
Though this is a largely amateur cast, they are mostly fine. They are sometimes too theatrical, but costuming is at least authentic. There is a need among this cast for more realistic emotions, but they are at least trying, which is the best we can ask for in this situation.
The Light of Freedom desperately needs a remake, or at least another Civil War film like it. This is an important period in American history for many reasons, one being that it was a time when Christians made a true difference in the culture. Thus, we absolutely need more Christian films about this era. It is certainly hard to be historically authentic on a limited budget, but this creative team pulls it off well. Now if they can just improve other elements, such as characters and plot, they will be well on their way to greatness.
Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points