Thursday, March 15, 2007

Movies worth two hours of your life

I often take shots at bad movies and the Academy which drools over them.

You might make the mistake of thinking that I am generally anti-movie. The truth is, I love a good movie with a solid plot and good acting. I thoroughly enjoyed the three films from the Mexican directors which won a number of awards this year: Pan's Labyrinth, Children of Men, and Babel. I tend to like gritty, dark films. I am a big fan of Hitchcock and the film noir genre. My favorite films include Double Indemnity, Vertigo, Dial "M" for Murder, Rebecca, The Maltese Falcon, Laura, A Witness for the Prosecution, Chinatown, The Shawshank Redemption, and LA Confidential. These days, Hollywood has a tendency to be shallow and unoriginal, substituting special effects, foul language, sex, and cheap laughs for plot and character development. And the Academy is much more impressed with a liberal agenda than a good story line.

So when Hollywood creates a film with a superb story line, good production value, great acting, and a clear presentation of a Christian world view all in one package, I do sit up and take notice. When they portray a man committed to faith in God, compelled by that faith to take action against injustice in spite of tremendous opposition, persevering through years of setbacks, facing hopeless obstacles, and battling his own personal demons, I am so impressed that I must encourage you to see this film.

The film I am talking about is "Amazing Grace", based on the true story of William Wilberforce, the man who ended the British slave trade. The title comes from Wilberforce's partnership with John Newton, the former slave ship captain turned monk and anti-slavery activist, who wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace". It is a film of redemption and restoration, but also it is a call to each of us to confront the injustices of our time, reminding us that a life of faith can not be lived out in solitude, retreating from the public arena. Instead, we must be engaged with the culture, shaping the culture and being an influence for what is right and just. As Christians, are we acting out that kind of influence today? If so, would the abortion industry be flourishing? Would pornography be big business? Isn't it time that Christians stop ignoring injustice and start confronting it?

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