Lawless & Film Club

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So film club went to see Lawless and lived to tell the tale!

I had concerns about the violence in the film as expressed in a previous post. Truth is I shouldn’t have worried there were no complaints (that I know of) although I know I winced on a few occasions.

Tom Hardy is the show stealer in this film giving a powerful performance through presence. A man of few words but can say a lot through some well placed grunting. Hardy is developing into of one of the finest actors of his generation and this film could be a defining moment for him.

The lovely folk over at Movie Writing have written a full review that I will reblog in order to give more background info on the film plot etc.

Lawless is focused on justice. Outlaws who deserve justice due to the frankly abhorrent Special Deputy played with menacing finesse by Guy Pearce.

At the end of the day human nature craves justice for those who are wronged regardless of their circumstances. The men portrayed are criminals but the injustices they suffer are greater therefore we empathise and will them on to prevail.

Justice is a biblical concept, we should seek justice for the oppressed, for the abused, for those who have experienced wrongs in fact we are commanded to in Isaiah 1:17
“Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” Micah 6:8  also tells us
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Lawless is potentially one of the films of the year. It is also a  cry to remember that everyone is entitled to justice.

 

A great review of Lawless is here by Amy at Movie Writing

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Looper – The New Matrix??

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Looper is released this weekend and I’m really looking forward to it. Truth be told there is nothing I love more than a good science fiction film.

However a couple of things have bothered me about certain advertising elements surrounding the release.

Quotes on posters should always be taken with a pinch of salt. For example when 5 stars are given always check the small print to see who actually made that recommendation!

One quote in particular grabbed my attention – “This decade’s the Matrix”.

You see the synopsis given on IMDB for these films are very different.

Looper  – “In 2072, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.”

The Matrix – “A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.”

A very different synopsis. You see The Matrix is a film about the discovery of one’s calling (or destiny) and its sequels are about putting that call into action. Although to be fair no one can be really sure what the third film (Matrix Revolutions) is about at all!

Looper appears to be more about playing God i.e. changing the past in order to fix the future which is very similar to the Terminator films.

The Matrix did have a massive impact on its release all those years ago. It was arguably the first time an intelligent blockbuster had been attempted. There were action scenes aplenty but the plot was often complex and required the audience’s full attention.

There had been nothing like it up until the arrival of Inception in more recent years which it could be said set the bar even higher for intelligent blockbusters.

Is Looper the ‘new Matrix’ only time will tell. It may not have similar plot themes but certainly if it lives up to the hype of the stars on posters it could have an impact that in this digital age could be more far reaching than the Matrix ever dreamed of.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility – Film Club & Church

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So after much discussion it was decided that our church (Fitzroy Presbyterian in Belfast) should start its own film club. This is not purely for film addicts but an opportunity for those within the church community to get together in a social setting and enjoy a good film, catch up with friends and hopefully make some new ones. Also by using our local cinema as a venue we hope to become a more visible presence in the community we serve.

However once the idea becomes reality and the green light is given then the power and responsibility aspect comes into play. I have am co-ordinating operations and have selected our first film. It took me a while as I wrestled with the question – ‘how do you choose a suitable film for a church film club’? Throwing myself in at the deep end I opted for (the Nick Cave scripted) Lawless.

This tale of brother bootleggers and gangsterism could potentially be one of the films of the year. Certainly there is enough star power to make it a contender (and Shia Leboeuf is in it too). On making my selection and letting people know the plan I THEN decided to watch the trailer and panicked. There was a lot of guns, and lots of shots of punches being thrown and I wondered have I got this right? Is a film which contains a lot of violence suitable for a church film club.

I came to the conclusion that it will depend on how the portrayal of this violence is played out on screen. Often violence can be intentional in order to give insight into a particular character and their mindset.

Martin Scorsese is the master of this. His films are often violent but,for me, never without purpose. Watch Joe Pesci’s performance in Goodfellas or Raging Bull, these are perfect examples of violence being used to highlight the unstable nature of the individual portrayed. Without it the character would lack threat and menace. The audience would never be on edge at the appropriate moments when he is on screen if his violent tendencies were not correctly portrayed.

Violence is not something Christians should shy away from (the Bible is full of it!) and the world we live in is becoming increasingly violent. Conversations need to be had about its use in film and how the far reaching impact can be negative if used in the wrong way.

Hopefully our film club will provide the platform for that. I will keep you posted as to how we get on.

Holy-wood: the film industry’s new passion for Christ

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The title of this first post is taken from an article I came across recently in the Guardian.

Over the next few years a series of biblically based films will be released in Hollywood. The first of these is anticipated to be Noah (Starring Russell Crowe).

The Passion of the Christ certainly showed the power that these adaptations can have and I hope that these newly commissioned films will continue in that trend. The Passion was watched by many across the spectrum of faith and sparked many a conversation and occasionally heated debate.

I am convinced however that it doesn’t take a film based on a biblical story to  highlight something that is useful on a spiritual or faith level.

I hope that this blog can highlight these elements through the films I watch and hopefully encourage you to look at what you are watching in a different way.