After Kent “Mac” McClain’s wife and sons are tragically killed in a car accident, he just wants to end it all. However, he is interrupted by a phone call and is given a new purpose by the person on the other end: to revive his law practice by taking on a special capital punishment case. So he assembles a team and begins investigating, but the deeper he digs, the more fishy and complicated things become. Mac soon finds himself not only fighting for the life of his defendant, but for his very own.
Production Quality (2 points)
The good thing is that Robert Whitlow does not settle for low to average quality productions when it comes to bringing his books to the big screen. Video quality and camera work are very professional. Sets and locations are realistic. Audio quality is good, although the soundtrack is pedestrian. Finally, the editing is sometimes effective in being suspenseful, but other times it is too choppy and exposes some missing time. It seems like there is content missing that was cut from the original take due to length. However, this is not done very well, as will be highlighted next. But in the end, Whitlow, Gary Wheeler, and crew know how to put together a respectable production.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)
Whitlow clearly knows legal procedure and is the right person to be writing legal suspense. The premise of this plot is therefore realistic and is filled with fairly believable, down-to-earth characters and pretty good dialogue. However, as previously mentioned, there needs to be more useful content included and few melancholy scenes. Also, Whitlow has a tendency towards overdone drama, which is also present in The Trial. Finally, there are a few too many coincidences in this plot and a rushed cheesy end that happens because it needed to. The cheesy villain is given too much time to monologue about their evil plan, although it’s unclear why they did what they did. All in all, this is once again a respectable effort, but perhaps not the best Whitlow book to choose for a movie.
Acting Quality (2.5 points)
Acting is this film’s strongest suit as each cast member fits his or her character perfectly. There is also a presence of clear acting coaching, which is likely the influence of Gary Wheeler, a student of the Kendrick brothers. Although there are some minor errors that keep this section from being perfect, this casting job shows how it’s done.
The saddest part about this film is that, based on the market availability of Christian movies, films like The Trial seem really good. In reality, this should be the baseline of quality, not the improvement. While it is not good enough to be Hall of Fame, The Trial is good enough to be interesting, although it may not capture the attention of many audiences. Gary Wheeler has a lot of potential as a creator and needs to keep trying until he makes that breakthrough to greatness. He has great hope for the future.
Final Rating: 6 out of 10 points