I truly do enjoy faith-based movies, but Unbroken left me a little flat. The acting was pretty good, and the directing was acceptable, however, since I didn’t read Laura Hillenbrand’s book Path To Redemption, I can’t comment on how closely the book was followed. It was interesting that Billy Graham’s grandson played his grand father (Billy Graham) in this movie, but his charisma is no match to his father’s.
I didn’t feel that the two main characters, Louis and Cynthia, had much chemistry together. I never really felt their passion for their religion, nor their passion for each other. Nor did the supporting cast offer up much for us to care about.
I was pleased that, once again, PTSD was addressed, even though at that particular time it was referred to as ‘shell-shocked’. Of recent, we’ve seen a number of movies addressing PTSD, and this is a good thing. A movie can give the public a visual of how devastating this condition is, and of course the more we know, the more we can help. History has shown us that, at least every generation or so, we will continue to be welcoming home our vets.
About the Peetimes: Unbroken is very much a drama driven movie, but does have periods of restraint that make for good Peetimes. I recommended the first Peetime, because it actually gives you slightly more than 4 minutes to break.
Even though the critics panned God Bless The Broken Road, I did find a few redeeming qualities I’d like to share with you. The movie touches on a few issues, that sadly, are all too prevalent in our world today: we have the ‘war widow’ trying desperately to hold her world together without the support of a husband. And a child whose life has been turned upside down because war left her without her father, while her mother works odd hours in a diner.
This movie stresses the importance of faith, even when your world is falling down around you. I’m sure this message will resonate with many people in the audience. All that having been said, my criticism deals with the technical aspects of the movie. The acting was sub-par, with the exception of the race car owner played by Gary Grubbs, one of the best character actors in Hollywood. The pacing was excruciatingly slow, and the directing left much to be desired. Many times the camera lingered on the sad face of Amber, and left me thinking, ‘Okay, we get it; she’s sad.’ A three-second shot of her sad face is acceptable, but a fifteen-second shot of the sad face is annoying.
Parents can comfortably take their children to see this movie, and later discuss the message of faith. I give God Bless The Broken Road a C, because it was an average movie with an average story.
About the Peetimes: God Bless The Broken Road is a faith-based movie that’s more drama driven, with very little action. Getting 2 Peetimes was fairly easy. Each gives you 4 minutes to break, so let your bladder decide.
This movie is a largely dialog-driven effort, showing what modern times are like for the church, the law, and the direction of religion in our new cell phone/internet existence. It’s a nice story that even non-religious viewers can appreciate.
The audience, on opening night (my guess is these are faithful church goers), REALLY enjoyed this film. They laughed a lot and shouted out the big lines and seemed to have a roaring good time.
John Corbett gave an enjoyable performance, a nice treat for fans of his since the days of Northern Exposure, Sex and the City, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and The United States of Tara (to name some of his biggest roles in an admittedly huge filmography).
The production values were high, and the soundtrack/direction/storytelling were certainly adequate. For a religious or conservative family, this film equals a nice night out for the family. The message is sound, no matter what side of the fence your views fall on.
Movie Grade: B
It saddens me to have to give a movie about one of the greatest stories from the Bible such a poor grade, but Samson was so poorly made — I was compelled to give it a failing grade.
The direction was sub par, the pacing was tedious, and the acting was an insult to the actual characters. It really pains me to say that, because it was nice to see Lindsay Wagner and Rutger Hauer working again.
If you want to see Samson on the big screen you’d better hurry; this movie will not be in the theaters long.