This Friday I’m planning to go see the Kendrick brothers’ latest movie, which some of you may already have heard of. It’s called Courageous, and much like Fireproof it explores the real-life tensions of first responders and their families. Last time it was firemen and marriage, this time it’s policemen and fatherhood. Inventive? Maybe not, but I can’t fault the Kendricks for using a formula that works well and that they’re familiar with. Here is a clip from the film, in which a character confesses a secret from his past, and the gospel is clearly presented to him. As the Church is corrupted, the gospel is watered down to the point where it’s treated as something dispensable. It’s refreshing to see people who are still willing to present it directly and unvarnished. (Note: This clip does contain a plot spoiler, so if you really want to be surprised, wait and see the movie.)
Now to get technical: Critics of the Kendricks’ movies, and of the Christian film genre in general, have made some fair points. Script, acting, and directing in Christian films virtually never matches the best that the mainstream has to offer. But what I like about the Kendrick brothers is that they’ve never pretended to be the Nolan brothers. They’re under no illusions about the greatness of what they create. Instead, they understand their limits and work within those limits to be the best at what they can do, and that’s making engaging, wholesome, family films that will present the gospel while presenting a good story at the same time. I know what a great movie looks like. I can tell when a piece of directing or a piece of acting rises above merely being good to sheer brilliance. But that doesn’t keep me from not merely enjoying, but appreciating what the Kendricks have to offer. In this way, I hope that I can walk a middle road between the Christians who consider themselves too sophisticated to enjoy anything the Christian film world provides and the Christians who insist those are the only movies that are any good. So I can marvel at the dazzling brilliance of a Christopher Nolan film on one day and eagerly look forward to a piece of evangelical movie-making on the next, intending to enjoy them equally. (However, I should probably add that I am far less forgiving in the realm of novels. Literature is a wholly different world from cinema.) Having seen all of the Kendricks’ previous movies, I truly can’t wait to see how they’ve grown in their craft. Because of the multiple stories Courageous tells, it’s more detailed than anything they’ve done so far, and if the preview clips I’ve seen are any indication, it’s their most mature work yet. I will see if I can offer some thoughts on the blog after watching it.
Now, for the second thing that’s coming up: A Booth Brothers concert on Saturday! Though I anticipate few surprises in the set list, I’m eagerly looking forward to watching these guys live and in the flesh, and hopefully getting to meet them in person. I’m particularly looking forward to shaking Michael Booth’s hand, which I’ve wanted to do for a while. I mean who doesn’t love Michael Booth? Review and possibly some pictures to follow.