Pass the Light (Movie Review)

Review: 'Pass the Light' could use a less-shiny lead actor - Los Angeles  Times

Plot Summary

Steve is tired of the divisive nature of politics, especially since a local election is heating up as a representative is trying to use the Christian faith to divide group of people from each other. Thus, Steve decides that it’s time to do something at school, in the community, in the political world, and at home. To do this, Steve launches a massive campaign to remind everybody of what the Christian faith is really about.

Production Quality (2 points)

It’s clear that the creators of this film focused on professional production quality. This fact is evident in the video quality and camera work. Sets, locations, and props are well-constructed and well-utilized. The only drawbacks include uneven audio quality and inconsistent editing. Nonetheless, this section deserves an above-average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

The writers had several good ideas and agendas in creating this screenplay. They raised excellent points about legalism in Christina culture, but the writers bit off way more than they could chew by trying to cover too many concepts at once. As such, there are many random subplots that generate too many characters for the audience to keep up with. Sometimes, it’s hard for the viewer to keep up with the stream-of-consciousness storytelling style, and time is filled with lots of empty montages that could have been replaced with real character development. As they are, the characters are a mixed bag. The protagonist is basically perfect and able to fix everything. The antagonists are a bit extreme, and a majority of the characters are difficult to connect with due to the crowding-out nature of the narrative. For the most part, the political premise is quite unrealistic although the politician characters are okay. In the end, an overwhelming amount of issues are easily fixed in magical fashions, which stunts the potential of this plot. Nonetheless, there were plenty of good discussions about the problems in modern Christianity, which warrants a small score.

Acting Quality (2.5 points)

For the most part, the acting in Pass the Light is professional. Most cast members put forth commendable efforts, including good line delivery and emotions. However, there are a few small moments of some actors and actresses trying too hard and generally putting forth over-the-top performances. Nonetheless, it’s not enough to prevent a high rating in this section.

Conclusion

It’s evident to many that there are problems within established American Christianity. However, taking all of the issues on in one movie is not the right way to get your message across. Additionally, crafting an unrelatable protagonist will alienate most audiences. In the end, Pass the Light was based on a number of good ideas that crowded each other out and didn’t really help solve any of the concerns that the writers raised.

Final Rating: 5.5 out of 10 points

Unbridled [2017] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Sarah Miller hates her life and wants to escape the clutches of her mother’s abusive boyfriend, but she has no way out.  However, a concerned friend and her fellow college student intervene when she acts strange in class, and they are able to rescue her and help her to start a new life at a shelter.  Sarah is also introduced to Unbridled, a horse therapy center for troubled girls, where she bonds with a stubborn horse.  However, when he mother’s boyfriend comes back for revenge, will she be able to survive?

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Though the production of Unbridled begins somewhat rough, it definitely demonstrates care and effort.  There is some shaky camera work throughout the film, likely for dramatic effect.  However, video quality is fine, and audio quality gets better as the film goes on.  Sets, locations, and props are excellently constructed and utilized.  There are some slight ministry ‘product placements’ throughout, but it means well.  One caveat to raise in this production is the very awkward editing throughout.  Some scenes lag on too long, while others are cut short.  Still other scenes appear to be unneeded.  However, despite the issues, this is a great beginning production for the Moving Visions team.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

As this storyline is based on true events of real people’s struggles, it definitely has its share of positives.  One of these is its excellent use of underlying philosophy that is manifested in well-crafted dialogue.  Thus, this creates believable characters who have unfortunately realistic struggles.  There is also a great portrayal of trauma and mental health in this film, as well good research on the under-explored world of horse therapy.  However, this plot also has its share of drawbacks.  These include some cheesy horse story elements and a lot of unnecessary sidebars and rabbit trails that are underdeveloped.  There are also some concerning plot holes and a lot of scenes that have been read into very much in order to be fully understood.  Thus, some organization of this otherwise good content was definitely in order.  However, it is still likely worth your time to see if only for the good cause of the film.

Acting Quality (2 points)

The acting and casting of this film is somewhat of a mixed bag, as it contains many familiar faces of Christian film.  For one, Eric Roberts is just too much, even though he is appropriately cast as a creeper.  Jenn Gotzon-Chandler is awkward at first, but she gets better as she goes; the same can be said for Rachel Hendrix.  T. C. Stallings is always good, but he has his moments of over-playing.  Tea McKay is a great lead and has a lot of promise for the future.  On the whole, this is an above-average effort that shows great potential for the future.

Conclusion

Unbridled is a rare caused-based film that is worth recommending because it presents a real issue in a way that is not extremely obvious. The creators of this film clearly knew how to portray real people and their struggles.  However, a series of rookie errors kept this film from being all that it could be.  Nonetheless, this is certainly not something that will hold them back in the future, as we believe they will get better as they continue on.  With a few production tweaks and an improved story presentation, the Moving Visions team is going to go great places in the future.

 

Final Rating: 4.5 out of 10 points