Mission Improbable [2016] (Movie Review)

Mission Improbable (2016)

Plot Summary

The lives of several substance abusers and a pastor who lives a luxurious ministry lifestyle suddenly become interconnected as God leads each them down different paths to the same place: a Christian substance abuse rehab. They all have different motives and different reasons for being there, but by the time it’s done, none of them will be the same. However, when each person’s past comes calling, how will they respond?

Production Quality (1 point)

One of the most glaring problems with this production is that it’s over-extended and cannot adequately portray what it’s meant to portray. This is evidenced by very cheap and limited sets, locations, and props, as well as poor lighting throughout. The audio quality, both indoor and outdoor, are also both inadequate. While the video quality is mostly fine, there are a lot of strange camera angles. Also, while the editing is mostly fine, this is overall a very cheap production that really has no place in this era of Christian film.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

While this film seeks to portray unfortunately realistic circumstances that can be found virtually anywhere in America, it does so in a very tone-deaf manner. Substance abuse is a real and serious issue, but this movie treats it solely like a spiritual issue (there are spiritual components, but not only that) and does so in a very legalistic and unrealistic fashion, such as implying that praying and becoming a Christian immediately cures substance abuse. However, there is a refreshingly honest look at church problems, even if the bad characters are total strawmen, especially the ‘bad’ women. It doesn’t help that all of the dialogue is painfully forced and has a very archaic style and tone about it. As such, the conversations do nothing to build or grow characters even though there are very steep character arcs that come as a result of reading Bible verses, which are also highly unrealistic. In the end, everything is magically fixed when the characters act as the plot wants them to act. Essentially, this is a worthwhile topic to explore in film, but screenwriters need to do so in the context of actual research about and\or experience with substance abuse rather than the total ignorance this film displays.

Acting Quality (0 points)

To top things off, this film contains some of the worst acting of the past few years. This poor quality includes weird scenes of cast members talking to themselves and is most represented by the very awkward and overly-practiced tone of the acting. Many cast members seem self-impressed for no reason and demonstrate tone-deaf emotional and line delivery. Elsewhere, emotions are extremely forced to the point parody. In the end, this film has very little going for it.

Conclusion

Nearly every movie starts off with a good idea. One of the most error-prone areas of Christian film is converting that good idea into a movie that’s worthwhile, high-quality, and accessible by several different audiences. If a film can’t be understood or can’t properly relate to people, there’s really no hope for it. This besetting sin of Christian film is an overall symptom of problems facing the church: American Christians, as a generalization (there are always exceptions), have difficult time understanding real people because they don’t know them very well. Until this changes, Christian film as a whole won’t change on the large scale.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

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Seven Deadly Words (Movie Review)

They're always watching.........
They’re always watching………

Plot Summary

When the Bennett family moves to Connorsville, Indiana, to lead a struggling small church that’s running low on funds, what they find there is not what they expected.  They find a very small congregation who is largely controlled and influenced by a local rich family.  When Pastor Evan Bennett decides to disagree with them on a riveting budget line item, they unleash their full wrath on his family.  Can the Bennett family survive the onslaught and get their budget passed before darkness descends on the church forever?

 

Production Quality (0 points)

Where to begin?  Seven Deadly Words is an experience unlike any other.  For starters, the movie is framed as a fake documentary, sort of like a found footage film, but lacking the usual elements of this indie film genre.  Needless to say, this docu-drama concept just serves as a crutch for poor production quality.  For example, shaky camera work and inconsistent video quality throughout are ‘masked’ by the ‘raw footage’.  The film is filled with constant reality show ‘confessional’ style interviews, which pump the runtime.  Aspect ratios are inconsistent, sometimes trying to depict camcorder recordings.  The audio quality is spotty, as is the lighting.  The editing is spliced together, like it’s literally an amateur documentary.  Again, all of this is chalked up to the documentary style footage, but it’s a stupid excuse for bypassing quality.  Watching this film is very isolating and confusing because of the choice to use this type of delivery.  Essentially, this is just a cheap production that poorly masquerades as a professional one.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

This entire film has a strange undertone, like there’s an inside joke we don’t know about.  The movie gives off a very twilight zone feel.  It’s also filled with stupidly unnecessary concepts like the main character always riding a bike instead of driving.  As the so-called plot limps along and jumps from one thing to the next, you have no idea what you’re going to experience next.  Therefore, there is no coherent plot structure and zero character development.  All the characters are just randomly used, and some have next to no air time.  The villains are extremely obvious and over the top.  Dialogue is offbeat and off the wall.  The saddest thing is that this good movie idea about small church corruption is totally squandered.  After much discussion on complex church budget drama and other fake suspense, the movie lurches towards the most bizarre ending ever since Decision.  The bottom line is that there is basically no sense in this storyline and it just reflects another wasted idea ruined by poor planning and little effort.

Acting Quality (0 points)

While having an amateur cast is not an inherent problem, it’s usually ill-advised unless you’re going to employ some series acting coaching.  As can be expected, this was not done in Seven Deadly Words.  The actors and actresses often have random outbursts and rants that have no context.  The emotional vacillations are dizzying.   Some cast members cannot be taken seriously at all.  In short, this section rounds off a truly embarrassing creation.

Conclusion

By the way, there is no explanation of what the ‘seven deadly words’ are or why this movie is entitled that.  As mentioned before, while we know from firsthand experience that small church corruption (i.e. being controlled by one rich family or a handful of them) is very common in America and needs to be exposed in film.  However, like far too many movies before and after it, this one only serves to further blacken the name of Christina film.  The fact that this mess won any awards at all is truly disturbing.

 

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points