In the Mirror Dimly (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Nicole and her mother are constantly at odds with each other, and Nicole hates that her father left.  Thus, Nicole turns to her friends for support and identity.  However, when they make fun of the way she looks, Nicole goes to extreme lengths to make herself look like the ‘ideal teenage girl.’  Before she knows it, Nicole is trapped in an eating disorder with no way out.  This leads her mother to drastic measures and causes her father to step back into her life.

 

Production Quality (.5 point)

While In the Mirror Dimly is better than the horrid The Saber, that’s not saying much.  Video quality is the only positive aspect to this production.  Otherwise, camera work moves all over the place with no warning, and audio quality is poor, even with the obvious overdubs.  Background sounds are too loud, and the soundtrack is a dumb ‘country’ number.  Flashbacks are unnecessarily black and white, and sets, locations, and props are cheap and limited.  Finally, the editing is very disorienting and confusing.  Unfortunately, the Cross Wind team has very low production standards.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 point)

Much like The Saber, In the Mirror Dimly struggles for any remotely substantial content.  Tons of scenes are wasted on procedural activities of daily living.  The story has no clear purpose as basically all of the dialogue is immature character arguing in the most juvenile ways.  There is a lot of wasted time, along with strange psychological elements.  The premise is basically a predictable city-girl-moves-to-a-rural-area-with-a-horse idea again.  Once again, an otherwise important issue is totally mishandled and ends up being portrayed in an over-the-top and unrealistic way that reflects the writers’ lack of understanding of real problems.  There is a lot of message-pushing as the character as basically pawns in the plot’s clear agenda.  If you’re going to make movies about people’s struggles, please at least attempt to ground your plots and characters in some shred of reality.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Much like other Cross Wind efforts, the acting in this film is as terrible as you can imagine.  Line delivery and emotional delivery are very forceful and unnatural, like it pains the cast members to be there.  Some cast members are especially annoying, and lot of them engage in unnecessary yelling.  This rounds out yet another awful excuse for a Christian movie.

Conclusion

So you want to make a movie about people’s struggles with identity and sin.  Your first task is to learn about real people and how these problems manifest, grow, and heal.  Yet in their films, Cross Wind has demonstrated the exact opposite.  It is very hard to believe that they have a realistic grasp of the struggles of real people, so this sort of film is downright insulting.

 

Final Rating: .5 out of 10 points

 

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The Saber [2007] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Cameron O’Connor joins the military as a cadet and uses his computer skills to make a name for himself.  However, he soon finds himself getting into trouble online with internet pornography that gives him an unrealistic view of women.  As he goes deeper and deeper down a destructive path, he gets kicked out of the military and puts his girlfriend in a very dangerous position.  God finally gets his attention and sends him help to turn around, but not before some serious consequences.

 

Production Quality (0 points)

Unfortunately, The Saber is basically B-roll footage of outdoor military maneuvers with some other scenes sprinkled into it in order to try to make it some semblance of a story.  There are no good production elements to point out here.  Video quality is bad, and camera work is inconsistent.  Lighting is very odd, and there a lot of unnecessary zooming shots.  Sets, locations, and props and very cheap and limited.  Audio quality is poor, and the soundtrack is often too loud.  This production feels like a documentary, especially with the stiff way it has been edited.  Thus, there is really nothing good to say here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

With the runtime filled with tons of training montages, this ‘story’ wanders and grasps for a purpose, but never finds one.  This aimless storyline contains extremely empty cardboard characters that have the worst possible dialogue.  There are also strange psychological elements throughout that make it hard to understand what’s going on most of the time.  While this is a very important message to portray, it is horribly presented, with a ridiculous and strawman portrayal of otherwise serious problems.  This demonstrates a lack of comprehension of reality and tends to talk down to ‘bad people.’  As events progress to extreme lengths, the film only offers quick and unrealistic fixes to problems that the writers clearly do not fully comprehend.  This is a huge disappointment.

Acting Quality (0 points)

This amateurish cast has the most awkward and forced line delivery possible, as well as the most uncomfortable and stiff emotions.  Their performances are robotic and unsure as they seem to be just reading lines.  There are also some annoying sequences of yelling, as well as some terrible makeup.  This finishes off a very cringe-worthy effort that I want to forget really hard.

Conclusion

The Saber deals with some serious stuff, but the way it handles the serious stuff is disingenuous and tone-deaf.  After watching this film, it is very hard to believe that the Cross Wind team has a grasp of the real struggles of real people, besides the fact that they have no quality standards.  This whole movie is a microcosm of what’s wrong with Christian film and what needs to be changed about it.

 

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points