Three Faith-Based Films New to DVD
by Phil Boatwright

The Book of Esther

Pure Flix Entertainment offers this DVD release on June 4, 2013. Based on the Bible book, Jen Lilley (General Hospital, Revelation Road) plays the young Jewish maiden who becomes a Queen.

When Esther becomes King Xerxes’s queen, she finds herself in a position to defend and protect her people from Haman, a treacherous confidante of the King, bent on destroying the Jews.

Directed by David A. R. White, who has built a successful career by bringing uplifting and spiritual stories to the screen and DVD market (Brother White, Me Again, The Encounter, Hidden Secrets, to name a few), the production suffers from its small budget. Taking on a project that recreates a Persian monarchy without an epic allocation is bound to make the final product look like one of those church TV dramas that used to air in the 1960s (so my father has told me). And because the story is rift with royal court intrigue, if the dialogue, acting and script are not handled with sufficient artistic aplomb, the final result can resemble an overly melodramatic soap opera. Alas, these are problems this endeavor suffers from. But…

Despite its flaws, The Book of Esther is somehow involving and leaves us with a powerful story of courage, faith and obedience. What’s more, it led me to reread the biblical account.

Running 90 minutes, it is unrated, but I found nothing objectionable. Timothy Ratajczak wrote the script and the production costars Thaao Penghlis (Days of Our Lives) Jennifer Lyons (That 70’s Show), Robert Miano (Donnie Brasco) and Joel Smallbone (recording artist of For Kings and Country). And despite those said flaws, it would be an asset for any church library.

Break Away

Word Films brings this faith-based drama to DVD on April 23.

Based on actual events, the story takes place in South Africa concerning a hard-working husband who loses his job and is forced to use what he has and let God multiply it.

Though it contains several too many song montages for my taste (the filmmakers use song lyrics to further the story), I find little else to fault the film. Sure, it’s difficult in the beginning to go through the loss of a job (who can’t relate to that), but ultimately the film is uplifting.

Yes, there is a struggle for every victory, but Break Away evidences God’s intervention, showing He provides for those who reverence Him.

A sound story, strong performances (once you get into the rhythm of the South African dialect) and an inspirational story that features a man undergoing challenges, yet always thinking of others.

Break Away is one DVD every church library should possess.

For more information about the inspiring 113-minute DVD, go to wordfilms.com.

The Mark II: Redemption

Pure Flix Entertainment brings Rapture sequel to DVD May 7, 2013.

This sequel to The Mark, about a former Marine who has a biometric microchip living inside him, and is being chased by those who want said chip, fails to hit the, well, I won’t say it. This action adventure plotline comingles with one about an antichrist-type villain attempting to bring a new world order about just after the Rapture occurs.

All little children around the planet have disappeared, along with Christian adults. They can’t be found; only little piles of clothing are left behind. (Evidently, when the end time comes, we will approach the Pearly Gates already wrapped in a new wardrobe.)

In trying to appeal to younger moviegoers accustomed to endless amounts of testosterone-pumping hijinks, these faith-based filmmakers are bent on incorporating Mad Max/Oblivion rollercoaster elements, as if the Rapture and Tribulation weren’t armrest-grabbing enough. Maybe they are right in this approach. At least they’re trying to put a fresh face on a subject that has been brought to the screen by many a well-intentioned Christian filmmaker. But without the right-size budget and that inexplicable ability to capture passion and pathos on celluloid (or whatever they now use to “film” movies), we are left with a well-meaning failure.

That said, someday the Rapture will occur and it never hurts to be reminded of that fact. After all, we can see world conflicts birthed each day, which may indicate that there’s a good chance we are coming face to face with the Revelation’s warning.

Unrated, The Mark II contains several gun battles, bloody beatings, vehicle chases, and even an explosion or two, but it’s PC – the terrorists are white and speak with English accents.