19 August 2013

Movie Review: "The Encounter"

Rated: Not Rated (Dove approved for ages twelve and up)
Starring: Bruce Marchiano, Jaci Velasquez, and Steve "Sting" Borden
Released: May 3, 2011 (DVD/Blu-Ray)
Synopsis: Nick (former wrestler Steve "Sting" Borden) is a football-player-turned-restauranteur who is worth millions.  Catherine (Danah Davis) and Hank (Jamie Nieto) are a married couple on the verge of divorce.  Melissa (CCM singer Jaci Velasquez) is traveling thousands of miles to see her boyfriend, in hopes that he will propose to her.  Kayla (Madison Gibney) is running away from her home and her drug-addicted, alcoholic parents.  One dark and stormy night, they happen upon a restaurant called the Last Chance Diner.  Upon entering, they are greeted by a guy (Bruce Marchiano, The Visual Bible: Matthew, Apostle Peter and the Last Supper) who calls himself Jesus, and who knows them and everything about them.  Is this guy some actor? Is he a charlatan? Or is he the same Jesus that you can read about in the Bible? Before the night is over, those five are going to be in for a big surprise...

Artistic Merit

Plot: 4.5/5
Five people stuck in a diner with no means to escape sounds more like a horror flick than a redeeming Christian film, but this movie's plot works quite well.  It even helped me to learn to trust God more, which is a lesson we all need to learn at times.

Acting: 5/5
Other than Mr. Marchiano, Mr. Borden, and Ms. Velasquez, I don't think any of these stars are very experienced actors and actresses, but they do very well.  Mr. Marchiano gets major kudos for once again masterfully portraying Jesus Christ, which is a hard role to do.

Other Production Values: 5/5
The sets and such were all great; nothing really to complain about here.

Moral Content

Positive Elements: 5/5
Along with affirming belief in Jesus, positive themes in this movie include: staying with and not divorcing your spouse, regardless of marital issues; not resorting to suicide when things get tough; waiting to find the right spouse; accepting Jesus into your heart before it is too late; and not falling for the devil's schemes.

Sex: 4.5/5
Sexual sin is mentioned and vilified.

Nudity: 5/5

Language: 4.5/5
Some slight name-calling.

Violence: 4/5
A character grabs Jesus by the collar, but doesn't hurt Him.  A car accident leads to someone's death (implied).  Someone holds a gun to his/her own head in a flashback, but the gun ends up being empty, and he/she is not hurt.

Drugs: 4.5/5
It is mentioned that Kayla's parents and stepfather were drug/alcohol addicts, but their usage of such substances is vilified.

Frightening/Intense Scenes: 4/5
See "Violence".

Other: 4/5
Young children may have trouble understanding this movie.

Conclusion: For Christian cinema, this movie is better than usual.  The production values are quite high, and the movie was successful enough to warrant a sequel, which I will be reviewing at some point.  Anyone who has enjoyed previous Pure Flix films should definitely check this one out.

Score: 4.5/5

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