Voiceless [2015] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Jesse has been recently discharged from the military, so his wife Julia pulls strings at an inner-city Philadelphia church, where she grew up, to get him a job as an outreach pastor.  Once there, Jesse desperately wants to make a difference everywhere he goes, but he and Julia are haunted by their own secrets from the past.  Jesse is plagued by constantly seeing young women enter an abortion clinic right across the street from where he wants to have an outreach center for the inner-city youth, and he is determined to do something about it.  However, he takes matters into his own hands and makes things worse by inviting his church’s criticism and making himself a target with law enforcement.  Will he and his wife be able to resolve their differences and make a real difference in a dark place?

 

Production Quality (2 points)

Though Voiceless had a fairly limited budget, the production of this film is quite good.  This includes good video quality and fine audio quality, although there are some moments of shaky camera work.  There is also some odd filtering throughout that might have helped outdoor lighting.  The soundtrack is very good, and sets, locations, and props are very realistic, appropriate, and authentic.  Further, there are a few editing issues due to a large amount of content, but on the whole, this is a respectable effort that accompanies a very worthwhile film.

Plot and Storyline Quality (2 points)

It’s rare to find a ‘cause’ movie that actually portrays real people living real lives, especially in the pro-life genre.  However, Voiceless stands out among the rest by developing flawed, gray, and accessible characters through rich dialogue, well-explained motives, and deep back stories.  The authentic struggles of real people are depicted in this plot and help to amend the common black and white perception of pro-life issues.  There are no heroes or villains here—only real people who make mistakes and try to rectify them.  Further, subtlety is employed very well without the use of narration.  The only issues to raise here pertain to a large amount of content that could not be fully included and to the lagging finish that tries to patch things up a bit too neatly.  Nonetheless, this is not enough to keep this plot from placing this film on the Hall of Fame.

Acting Quality (3 points)

The acting is the strongest point of this film as there are no errors to highlight here.  A little-known cast of people is very well-coached and well-utilized for this film.  Line delivery is nearly perfect, and emotions are very authentic.  This is a superb acting accomplishment and a great finish to a job well done.

Conclusion

Voiceless is a rare pro-life movie that will actually make a real difference.  Many people will be able to find their own stories in the stories of these characters.  There are no strawman portrayals of pro-life people or pro-abortion people here.  This is a real story that could happen anywhere and is one that shows the only way we can end abortion is not through heroics or fighting, but through prayer and community culture change.  Films like this one can also promote culture change, which is exactly what we are looking for.

 

Final Rating: 7 out of 10 points

 

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Last Ounce of Courage (Movie Review)

Make small town religion great again
Make small town religion great again

Plot Summary

When Bob Revere’s son is killed overseas while in the military, he leaves behind a wife and son, along with grieving grandparents.  Bob is the mayor of a small town and he feels like the religious freedom his son fought for is slowly being eroded away as outside legal groups try to remove everything Christmas from the town.  That’s why Bob, along with his grandson and friends, have to fight against the onslaught by taking a stand for religious freedom in their town—even if it means going to the extremes.

 

Production Quality (0 points)

It’s clear that, in keeping with a jillion other films like it, Last Ounce of Courage was forced to happen with no regard for quality.  The production team gave no care to any details—not camera work, not video quality, not audio quality.  There was some effort, however, put into the sets, but they are full of Christmas overload and have that cheesy small town feel.  The editing is fairly choppy and leaves the viewer confused.  Basically, this was a slap-together effort with a clear agenda behind it, as will be discussed next.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-2 points)

Last Ounce of Courage can effectively be rated as total propaganda.  In an attempt to ‘stand up’ for religious freedom supposedly being attacked in a small town, a giant strawman is created.  The issue is portrayed as very one-sided and extreme, even suggesting that perceived attacks on religious freedom are responsible for an insane amount of things, such as societal decay.  Unrealistic situations are posed that force upon the audience the notion that America is in the midst of all-out persecution (it’s not).  Besides this, the plot has an overall zany and off-the-wall feel to it, including bizarre elements that cannot be explained.  Dialogue is mostly contrived and other times eccentric.  There are too many subplots shoved into the storyline, most of which are beyond-Hallmark absurd.  Also, the only African-American characters in the film are the villains.  The ending is forced to be perfect in every possible way, like a child’s movie.  In short, this is an offensive plot deserving of negative points.

Acting Quality (0 points)

The acting is overall mindless and empty, while at times awkward and in-your-face.  Cast members mostly recite their lines as if from a cue card.  Emotions come off as programmed and forced.  Like the production, little care was taken in this area as the propaganda-ridden plot was forced to happen.

Conclusion

Some Christian film makers seem to have a fetish for crafting an us-against-the-world plot themed with religious freedom overtures.  Religious freedom is definitely important, but we find it very hard to believe that the events portrayed in this film have actually occurred in reality.  Crafting this sort of false dichotomy only further deepens the divide between Christians and non-Christians, especially when the latter are portrayed in such offensive ways.  This is not the purpose of Christian film and we hope to never see something like this one again.

 

Final Rating: -2 out of 10 points