Last night we watched Courageous. It's a movie from the same people that did Facing the Giants and Fireproof, Sherwood Baptist Church in Georgia. The story is about four cops and a handyman who are all trying to figure out life, fatherhood and God. I'm going to split this review into two parts. The first half I'm going to review the technical components of this movie, writing, directing, acting, etc. The second half will be reviewing the message and themes of the movie. I wanted to split it into two parts because I have very different opinions on them. If you haven't seen the movie, there are going to be some spoilers, so read carefully.
First off, the technical parts of the movie. I thought that the film fell short of my opinions of what a good movie is. The acting was mediocre at best, with the exception of Ken Bevel who portrayed Nathan Hayes. I felt most of the actors spoke their lines too overdramatically, which detracted from the impact of the lines sometimes. Also, sometimes when in the background, they lapsed in staying in character and forgot they were still on camera even when not speaking lines. Ken Bevel was the one main actor who I truly believed as their character, and I was pretty impressed with his work, considering all the actors were volunteers. That's one thing you have to remember, nobody got paid to make this movie. The writing is where I have the most mixed feelings in this movie. I thought (and I'll discuss this later) the message and themes of the movie were very poignant, important and clearly made time and time again in the movie. The dialogue of the movie, however, was really cheesy in some parts and awkward in many instances. Maybe this is a cause and effect of the mediocre acting. Either the dialogue made the acting bad, or the acting made the dialogue bad. Either way both left a lot to be desired. I also felt the story was written around the message, rather than the message flowing out of the story. In this movie's case, that's not important because the story and the technical aspects of the movie were meant to be secondary to the message it was getting across. The directing had some moments where it was REALLY good, and other times where I was confused. Some of the cuts and scenes were awkardly put together, and the montages sometimes seemed forced. The two scenes that were really impressive to me were the action scenes at the beginning and end of the movie. The big opening scene was well put together, the action was done well and I was impressed. It had nothing on the big gunfight at the end of the movie. The shots they used were perfect for the scene, the slow motion uses were perfectly placed and I felt the actions and events were well done.
The message of the movie was very important in society today, and they reiterate that with stats throughout the movie. Fatherhood in society today is dying, and it's causing the rise in crime, gang violence and decay of families everywhere. This movie showed the importance of fathers, and was so well put across. I definitely cried in this movie, and not ashamed to admit it (the part that got me most was after Adam's daughter passes away, and they show the sign in her room 'My prince did come, his name is Daddy). It's a big challenge to dads everywhere, and I felt the challenge in my life. Although as a film it wasn't the most well done, it is one I would recommend to ANYONE, especially dads. The message of being there for your kids, doing what you can to help them grow closer to God, and being the leader of your house are ones every dad and husband needs to hear over and over again. And even if you're not married and have a kid, that kid NEEDS you to be a part of their life. I love how each of the dads in the movie had different relationships with their kids, whether it was divorced with visiting rights, never met the child or lived with them, and each one was challenged to do more to be the father God lines out in Scripture. Very good, and very important especially in light of today's society and how more and more kids grow up knowing barely anything about their dad.
I recommend this movie for the message it has and challenge it lays out. As a film, don't expect greatness, but let that go as you see the message unfold.