The War Within [2014] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Michael Sinclair is a successful cartoonist with a beautiful family.  But one day, everything in his world comes crashing down, almost at once.  Tragedy hits his family, he is laid off from his job, and he and his wife begin having conflicts with each other.  Soon, Michael realizes that a war is waging inside of himself that he cannot fight on his own.  As he is torn between what he wants to do and what he knows if right, he will ultimately have to make a decision that will impact his marriage forever.


Production Quality (1.5 points)

The War Within is very ambitious for a freshman independent film with a limited budget.  The production starts out raw with some overused special effects and choppy editing but gets better as the film progresses.  Sometimes the scenes are too ethereal, but this mostly improves in the middle.  This is also the case for camera work and video quality, as both of these improve as the movie goes on.  Audio quality is good, but sometimes the soundtrack is too loud.  Furthermore, sets, props, and special effects are used bravely and ambitiously.  They are designed fairly well and demonstrate great effort.  In short, this production is mostly limited by its financial constraints, which makes us wonder the heights this team could reach with better funding.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)

The War Within is a very creative plot idea based on innovating psychological concepts.  The plot unfolds very well as the real life and psychological subplots run alongside each other.  Good points are made and important issues are raised throughout the story.  The characters are authentic and believable, but dialogue ranges from effective to isolating.  Also, some plot elements are too abstract.  Yet the entire storyline is creative and makes more sense the long you watch it.  Like other parts of the film, this plot is very raw at first, but as it settles in, it becomes more meaningful and accessible.  In the end, this is a respectable effort and shows great potential for the future.

Acting Quality (2 points)

Though this cast is small and amateur, they mostly do the best they can with what they have.  Their performances are fairly respectable and professional.  However, there are some issues with over-the-top emotions throughout the keep this portion from being all that it could be.  In the end, like the rest of the film, the acting is good, but could be great.


The House of Grace team clearly has film making talent.  They aren’t afraid to try something different and seem to work hard to get it accomplished.  It seems like the only thing keeping them from reaching the next level is limited resources.  If they continue to showcase their talent, however, and work hard and commit their work to God, then they will receive the resources they need to make a truly great film.  We look forward to this happening.


Final Rating: 5 out of 10 points



Full disclosure: We were provided by the creator with a copy of this film in exchange for a fair and honest review


The Sound of the Spirit (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Rivka and her father are Messianic Jews, but when her father dies, she must go live with her aunt and uncle, who still follow Orthodox Judaism and do not believe Jesus is the Messiah.  As the time approaches for Rivka’s Bat Mitzvah, she becomes increasingly divided as to which path she is supposed to follow.  As she meets different people and tries to keep ties to her father’s friends, she will have to decide if she will try to please her aunt and uncle or follow Jesus.


Production Quality (1 point)

The only two positive qualities in The Sound of the Spirit pertain to production, and they are the clear video quality and the pretty good camera work.  However, there is literally nothing else good to say about this movie.  The audio quality is deplorable, including a blaring soundtrack and loud background noises.  The sets and locations are very limited and cheap.  Finally, the editing is nonexistent as this two-hour film is filled with wasted time and the same things happening over and over again.  Unfortunately, the negativity doesn’t stop there.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

As previously mentioned, it feels like the one-dimensional characters of The Sound of the Spirit continually have the same meandering conversations over and over again as literally nothing is accomplished for two hours.  Even so, the dialogue therein is disjointed and the subplots are very confusing.  Things happen because they need to as the viewer is forced to constantly witness obscure Jewish concepts and conflicts as the non-Messianic\Messianic Jew split is forced down your throat over and over again.  This could have been an interesting idea if the isolating ideas were explained better, but as it is, it’s very hard to follow or understand.

Acting Quality (0 points)

This cast is full of tons of offbeat cast members and unfortunate Jewish stereotypes.  Their emotions are incongruent and they constantly talk over each other.  Line delivery is either forceful or robotic to the point that it sounds like someone is dragging the words out of them.  Needless to say, this was a total fail.


The Sound of the Spirit had the opportunity to showcase a unique and intriguing topic in Christian film—Messianic Judaism.  But audiences will only come away from this film frustrated and some Jews may find it offensive.  We have no idea who these characters are except flat stereotypes and their conflicts are isolating.  We needed to be able to understand and appreciate their struggles, but we never got the chance.  It’s just another disappointing day in Christian film.


Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points