The Touch [2005] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

As a convicted drug dealer, Hannah has seemingly run out of options as she sits in a prison cell.  However, she accidentally stumbles upon a way for the judge to look kindly on her—a women’s Bible study group offered by a local church.  She attends the group begrudgingly and only to get out of prison, but she feels surprisingly drawn to the leader.  Thus, when she gets out and finds herself in another mess, Hannah turns to the group leader for help.  Despite opposition from within the church, a new shelter has been opened for troubled women, which gives Hannah a new lease on life.

 

Production Quality (2 points)

Though this is a small church film, The Touch avoids all the negative connotations that go along with this sub-genre.  Production is good due to professional video quality and camera work.  Sometimes the soundtrack is too loud, but otherwise, audio quality is good.  Sets, locations, and props are good, even though there is some slight room for improvement.  The flashbacks have some odd qualities about them, and the editing tends to be a bit too choppy at times due to some awkward cuts and transitions.  However, on the whole, this is a respectable production and one to be proud of, considering the meager beginnings.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)

It’s clear that the writers of this plot knew how to portray real people with realistic struggles and gritty circumstances.  The church people are also portrayed very well.  however, there are times when the gritty elements can be a bit too realistic, such as an overuse of ‘mild’ profanity and some edgy elements.  Though the characters are definitely believable, we could use a little more personality and character development here through more meaningful and less information-dumped dialogue.  Nevertheless, flashbacks are used very effectively to build character backstories.  Yet the issues presented tend to be fixed too quickly to suit the runtime.  But regardless of these small issues, this is a very good plot that deserves applause for not being just some stupid, self-contained church idea.  It’s unfortunate that we were not able to see more from this creative team.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

The acting probably has the most drawbacks of this film, even though there is a lot of potential in this amateur cast.  A lot of the time, emotions and lines are very much forced, as if through gritted teeth, especially from the female lead.  There is a serious need for coaching at the beginning of the film, but the good thing is that improvement is shown throughout.  Also, other cast members are consistently good throughout.  In the end, this is a fairly enjoyable movie that stands out from other church films.

Conclusion

This church really had something going for them—perhaps one day they will resurrect their filming ambitions and show other churches how it’s supposed to be done.  It’s still frustrating that average is a standout in the Christian movie world, but credit should be given to those who put forth the effort to have an amount of quality in their films.  Many film makers could learn a thing or two from The Touch.

 

Final Rating: 5 out of 10 points

 

Turning Back [2010] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

When Dave Patterson returns home after three years of drugs and rehab, his brother, an aspiring local politician and trusted church leader, is skeptical of his change and even envious of how his father accepts Dave with open arms.  Thus, Dave grows bitter towards his brother and seeks to share his side of the story in counseling.  Will they be able to reconcile their differences before it’s too late?

 

Production Quality (1 point)

Probably due to a limited budget, this production is slightly cheap in its presentation.  The lighting quality for most the film is strange and camera work is very random.  Audio quality is also inconsistent and soundtrack is very standard.  Sets, locations, and props are mostly okay but still reflect the limited nature of this production.  Furthermore, editing is fairly choppy as it is hard to understand what this story is trying to convey sometimes.  In the end, considering the limited resources here, this is an okay production, but it begs the question of necessity.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Though this is an interesting idea and is a more creative take on the typical prodigal son idea, it is still unfolds in a vague and confusing way.  Though this movie also actually portrays counseling in a realistic way for a chance, there are too many unnecessary plot tangents that waste too much time, even though there’s just barely an hour of runtime.  This causes the story to ump all around with no real focus, and there are too many random and unrelated characters.  The dialogue is too flat, thus causing the story to not hold the attention.  The ending is also slightly abrupt.  It seems like this film would have been better suited to be a short film.  Regardless, it needs a lot more development.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Though this cast is slightly amateurish, they appear to mean well.  They are sometimes unsure in their performances, but they put forth a decent enough effort.  There aren’t really any glaring errors, but they aren’t really dynamic enough.  Overall, it comes out as average.

Conclusion

Even though the creators of this film were likely honest in the creation of it, unfortunately, this movie is definitely going to slip through the cracks of the market and be easily forgotten.  This story is interesting and has potential, but it needs a lot more deepening and creativity to make it.  The production needs better funding and the acting needs to be more dynamic.  But perhaps this was just a test run and there are better things in store.

 

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points