My Fant4stic Four review was written at 1 o’clock in the morning and despite being very tired, I pushed myself to talk about a movie that couldn’t care less about its own existence.
Now it is 11am, I am well rested and ready to review a risk-taking, gut-wrenching Christian film called Do You Believe?
Do You Believe?, which was created by the same people who made God’s Not Dead, tells the story of twelve desperate characters whose lives will inevitably intertwine as they come to see the power of the Cross.
I have no idea why this movie wasn’t a hit like God’s Not Dead because this is another genre-saving movie that Christian filmmakers need to imitate.
How many Christian films do you see take on homelessness, self-mutilation, gang violence, PTSD, familial abandonment, loss of a child, teenage pregnancy and other heavy topics in just two hours? Now while they never get R-rated graphic with the self-cutting or the gang violence, just having those elements in a Christian film is pretty bold.
All of the performances are excellent with every single actor being fully invested in their roles. There’s a sense that the director and screenwriters (two people wrote this movie) know that this film isn’t going to appeal to everyone, but they’re willing to take that chance so that they can passionately tell the story that they want to tell. Quite frankly, I can’t help but admire everyone involved with this project.
I was biting my nails because telling multiple storylines is a difficult formula and it has more failures than successes. However I am delighted to announce that this is a brilliant multiple-character study. Each storyline is well-developed and the pacing–hallelujah!–the pacing is smooth sailing. There is never a dull moment because every scene has a rhyme and reason for existing. The film transitions very well because each story arch ties into another story arch, woven like a quilt of cinematic competence.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for a Christian film that FINALLY tackles “faith without works is dead.” That is shockingly rare in Christian movies, so for a film in this genre to acknowledge that belief in Jesus requires action is a much needed breath of fresh air.
Okay, now I’ve praised the film to death, there are some things I have to address. Like Amelie, this is a niche film. Atheists will not like this movie because the non-believing characters range from militant jerks (Sean Astin’s doctor character) to vaguely defined semi-atheists (Andrea Logan-White’s lawyer character). The agnostic characters are more like sort-of agnostic-ish who just need the kindness of a Christian friend in order to convert. Also some of the dialogue can get preachy and one of the storylines ends with a miracle that kind of comes out of left field.
I remember one of the teens at my LifeTeen youth group telling me that she saw this film in theaters and was blown away by it. Having watched it, I can see why. Passion and talent permeate every frame of this film. Unlike the people who slogged through Fant4stic Four, everyone put their all into this movie and that’s really all I could ask for.
The movie challenges viewers with the question: “If you believe in the power of the Cross, then the question is…what are you gonna do about it?”
Your move; what’s your answer?