THERE was a soft knock at my door. If I had music playing instead of studying for a test I would not have heard it. Upon opening the door I saw a woman standing with a canvas bag filled with pamphlets sitting by her feet. I asked her if I could help her though I was cautious since I was living in off campus housing; we never had strangers in the building. She asked me if I wanted to be saved today. I simply stared at her because I had never been asked such a question. Asking her what I was being saved from she leaned down to take one of the pamphlets out of her book and started to tell me about her religion. Because I was studying for a test I did not let her go on long before asking her how did she determine such a thing for me, that possibly my religion was taking care of me. She paused while maintaining her slight smile before telling me I should consider her faith because it was the only way for me. THIS was my first time having someone trying to convert me from my faith. At the time I was offended, namely because she was not acknowledging my faith. I finally had to ask her what right she had to make assumptions about my faith and spirituality from our short conversation. Having grown up in a diverse neighborhood, my friends and I were always going to each other’s religious holiday celebrations. Houses in my neighborhood would have either Christmas trees displayed in their windows or menorahs, while others displayed nothing. Maybe I grew up in a bubble but there were never any issues about one’s religion being wrong compared to someone else. I think that non-judgmental environment I grew up in made watching this dramatic film festival winning movie more shocking for me. TRAVELING from Portugal to Japan to find their lost mentor 17th century Jesuit priests Rodrigues and Garrpe, played by Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, 99 Homes) and Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Midnight Special) were not safe once they landed on foreign soil. Written and directed by Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street, The Departed), I understand it took Martin years to get this story filmed. With Liam Neeson (Taken franchise, Run All Night) as Ferreira and Tadanobu Asano (Thor franchise, Ichi the Killer) as the interpreter, the story covered deeper subject matter than the usual heavily marketed movie studios’ films. This story was quite thought provoking where I am still processing the scenes I witnessed. I say witness because there were scenes that were tough to watch with their violence, while others presented interesting discussion. The acting was excellent and some scenes were close to brilliant. One issue I had with the film was the length of it; I found the running time of 2 hours and 41 minutes too long. At one point I felt I was going from one torture scene to another. If I heard correctly the movie was originally over an hour longer; I cannot imagine sitting that long for this story. Putting that aside this film did present a forum to discuss human nature and religious issues. I do not know if this movie would cause one to convert but it could possibly change your views on the power of films.
3 ½ stars
Only a friend has the right to tell another friend they are being dumb. If someone else tries to do it they will be met with a strong reaction. This is part of what it means to be friends. I will come to the defense of any friend who is being attacked. In one of my college science classes I became friends with my lab partner and we would hang out with other students in the class. After a couple of get togethers socially I noticed one of the students tended to act differently towards my lab partner compared to the other people. It started out in subtle ways with things like answering my partner’s questions with short answers and making little eye contact with them. At some point my friend and I talked about it, wondering if anyone else in the group had noticed it. You may recall I believe there are no accidents; so, when an opportunity came up where I bumped into this other student at the campus library, I brought up my observations to them. It turned out they did not like my lab partner because he was of a similar heritage as a robber who had shot his uncle dead a couple of years ago back home. I asked him if he realized my friend had nothing to do with his tragic loss, while inside my head the word “prejudice” was flashing. Instead of looking up information for our class assignment the two of us sat in a small alcove of the library and discussed the situation. I understood where he was coming from, but I was determined to show and explain the limitations he was laying down for his life, besides having a frank talk about the dangers of being prejudiced based on the looks of a person. THEIR country being torn apart by civil unrest, several Liberian missionaries must trek across and out of the country in order to protect one of their members. Based on true events this dramatic thriller had a story line I could relate to: protecting a friend. I only wished a friend would have protected me from this amateurish film. With a cast of newcomers and a script that lacked any excitement or emotional depth, I was painfully bored throughout this movie. I cannot say with certainty but I believe this is another of these faith based films that the movie studio feels all they need is religion to sell it. This is not the case; people want to see something good that is done well. For a time frame filled with such horror and violence being done against its people, this picture was a flatliner. Please excuse me now, I have to go warn my friends about this film.
1 1/2 stars