First Church has been robbed by an unknown culprit! $20,000 is missing! However, the pastor wants to keep it all under wraps, so he can control the investigation without going to the police. That’s why he decides to hire a private investigator who’s an atheist to track down the criminal by interviewing everybody in the church. Though this investigator is skeptical of the faith, he decides he needs to make himself the personal bodyguard of the church secretary, who is having her own family struggles. Will everyone be able to learn the lesson of stealing?
Production Quality (1.5 points)
Kevan Otto’s production models are fairly standardized, and Grace of God is another example of this. Video quality and camera work are fine, even if lighting is a bit inconsistent at times. Audio quality is mostly acceptable, even if the soundtrack is sometimes too loud; there are also some unnecessary background\outside noises that come through. Sets, locations, and props are passable, but they are fairly limited. Further, the editing is average at best as many scenes drag on far too long and do not hold the attention well. Overall, this is just another average production with nothing special to write home about.
Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)
In conjunction with In the Name of God, Grace of God was intended to be a part of a series about the Ten Commandments. Undoubtedly, we would have been gifted with awkward iterations and proclamations from John Ratzenberger at the beginning of each film. Grace of God is shockingly about ‘You Shall Not Steal’ (notice the creative original title), and it’s also somehow supposed to be about Easter (there is no way to derive this concept from the plot at all). Regardless, this plot is as awful as can be expected from such a limited idea. Characters are totally blank, and most of the film is filled up with them awkwardly standing around and talking without saying anything substantial. Dialogue is mostly empty and mindless since it is so full of message-pushing and forceful ideas. A lot of the plot points and story arcs really lack basis in reality and feel very manufactured. In the end, the storyline lacks any real impact and falls flat on its face. It’s doubtful that many audiences will make it through the second half of the film–even though that stand-up-in-church scene is pretty hilarious.
Acting Quality (.5 point)
Though there is slight potential in this acting, most of the cast members therein seem lost and struggling without any assistance. Line delivery is choppy, and emotions come off as forced. There is no clear presence of acting coaching, and Erin Bethea actually exhibits some of the best acting skills, if you can believe it. Overall, most acting performances are just too robotic and unnatural to warrant any higher ratings.
Thank heavens there weren’t more of these films made. I can just imagine the halting, sermonizing grunts of John Ratzenberger on keeping the Sabbath day and not coveting. Hardly any Christian film makers make ten films period, so beginning with this sort of plan was certainly ambitious. By now, Kevan Otto has made about ten films, so he could have forced them all to be in this ‘series.’ Online fits perfectly with the adultery commandment. Lukewarm or Decision could be about honoring your parents or something. A Question of Faith could reference…organ donation? Regardless, movies that force messages down your throat in the form of sermons rarely have any real impact, so it’s best that this method is avoided altogether.
Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points