16 July 2015

Movie Review: "Confessions of a Prodigal Son"

Rated: Not Rated (Dove approved for ages twelve and up)
Starring: Nathan Clarkson, Rachael Lee, and Kevin Sorbo
Released: March 24, 2015 (DVD)
Synopsis: Tired of being told what to do all the time, Sean (Nathan Clarkson) walks out on his parents and starts attending college, joining in on the party scene as well.  While out to lunch one day, he meets the lovely Ali (Rachael Lee), a dance instructor who has recently discovered Jesus.  A relationship between them begins to blossom, but Sean still isn't too keen on going back to the faith he grew up with.  Just when he hits rock bottom, he discovers what he has been missing all along.
Also starring Kevin Sorbo (God's Not Dead).

The Good: The Prodigal Son is one of Jesus' best-known parables, and has been the inspiration for many a production, including the fairly recent Grace Unplugged.  As such, experienced Christian film fans may know what to expect from a movie such as this...and that's just what you get.  This flick has its moments where it feels like a big screen production, and the moral it drives home is one that's definitely needed, as more and more kids who were raised in the church are walking away from their faith as adults.  The soundtrack is also very good, and Ali herself is a likable character; she seems like the kind of friend one would want to have nearby always, and even bears a striking resemblance to a high school crush of mine.

The Bad: While this movie does have its high quality moments, it also has some where it feels very amateurish; in fact, this almost feels like two different films put together.  Some of the acting is sub-par, especially by lead actor Nathan Clarkson.  The closed captioning is among the worst I've ever seen, and is rife with typos that don't even make any sense, similar to a poorly translated video game.

Content Concerns:
  • Sex: A stray remark; an implied affair; guys stare at young women, all of which is vilified. 3/5
  • Nudity: Shirtless guys; girls in short shorts; a girl in an off-the-shoulder top. 3/5
  • Language: One misuse of God's name; two instances of name-calling; euphemisms such as "freaking" or "sucks" are used twice each, and the letter "H" is used at least four or five times as a substitute for a profanity. 3/5
  • Violence: An implied car wreck; a girl slaps a guy; a guy shoves another guy. 4/5
  • Drugs: Drinking is seen in several scenes, and illicit drug use in another; all this, however, is vilified. 3/5
  • Frightening/Intense Scenes: Right much emotional intensity, especially when a character is seen arguing with his parents. 3/5
Conclusion: I'm a fan of Christian cinema, but, I have to say that this was not among my favorites within the genre.  Even among low budget fare, viewers can do much better.  It's not terrible; it's just merely decent...but, that's still kind of a problem.  You may want to think twice before spending ninety minutes with this flick.

Score: 3/5

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