God’s not dead came out in March of 2014. It is brought to us by Pureflix Production and was written by Hunter Dennis, Chuck Konzelman and Carey Solomon, and watching this movie you can see the collaboration behind it. Directed by Harold Cronk who brought us God’s not Dead 2 and God bless the Broken Road, provides the vision of the story and presents it in a clear and concise way that is a stable for the movies he has made. Especially considering the budget restraints that these lower tier christian films work with, it is very impressive. This film was made for a little over two million dollars, which may seem like a lot by most standards! but in the movie industry this isn’t much at all. Looking at a films overall gross is a good way to tell the popularity of a film, God’s not Dead made over nine million dollars on opening weekend and a gross worldwide of 64 million dollars. So at the end of the day this movie did okay for itself. Rightfully so, I cannot say enough about how well made this movie is, and how well it still holds up today six years later. It stars Kevin Sorbo, Dean Cain and David A.R. White.
The story revolves around a young man, Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) arriving at college. From the beginning he is faced with a dilemma of publicly pronouncing his Biblical worldview and his faith in Christ, in the form of his philosophy professor played by Kevin Sorbo. He is forced to choose between saying that God is dead so that the class can move forward with real, human philosophy without dealing with the weak idea that God is the reason for why we live our lives, or choosing the position that says he cannot deny God. He is forced to go into a debate with the professor over the existence and belief of God. The main character sees his life change in ways that he never thought it would, do to the decision he makes. There are also numerous side plots that revolve around the idea of whether God is important and central or a fools belief. There is a pastor struggling with being faithful to the mission God called him to and a young Muslim woman finding Christ and dealing with the familial fallout from that decision. All of which culminate in a tense and heartwarming ending.
Kevin Sorbo does a really good job playing, Professor Radisson, the movies main antagonist; and gives one of the best performances of any in the film. That’s not really fair considering his experience over a lot of the other cast members but looking at it objectively from a film perspective this is one area where the movie lacks. Not bashing anyone. Its just obvious at times when Kevin Sorbo, Dean Cain and some are acting opposite younger talent, it stands out at times. None the less, everyone conveys the message their characters were created so believably, any small acting issues that my inexperienced mind finds are truly inconsequentially. The story is a powerful one to anyone open to the points being made whether a believer or not.
This description is brief, there is a lot going on in this movie. Again, all of which the film maker handles really well. The score, as well as the actual music are utilized greatly to drive home the emotions of the scenes. And the dialogue, for the most part is realistic and not cheesy (like some christian movies have a tendency to be). one of the only issues I had with the movie, and not really an issue but just took me out of it a little. Being a christian movie, using film to convey a certain message (No different than any movie by the way!) the lens in which they painted the non-believers, people who are not Christians, is one that is specific and dare I say, extreme. Very cynical. One thought that kept coming back to me was that not all non-Christians are that cynical and overt. I understand that the movie has a limited amount of time to complete that story. So they need their characters to do certain things that will progress that story. But watching it this time it was something that stood out more than any other viewing. To be clear it does not take away from the moral of the movie or alter the points that the movie makes, nor is it disrespectful towards any group of people. I think my problem is just more the writing and what they had those characters say, that seemed out of place.
All that being said, I am personally a Christian, movie lover. So I was gripped by the story and what it was trying to say. I also love movies that create an environment where discourse can be had. I would love to talk to anyone about the underlying themes of this movie. Movies like Prisoners (Huge Jackman) or Million Dollar Baby (Hillary Shwank) are some that come to mind regarding discussion starters. Maybe I’ll do these movies someday soon.
God’s Not Dead, Remember that movie! It’s encouraging and challenging all at the same time. It will leave you asking, “Where do I stand on the questions posed?”
“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”