Review: To Save A Life (Movie)
September 8, 2009Posted by on
To Save A Life – New Song Pictures – Scheduled to hit theaters January 22 2010
This isn’t going to be easy for me, not only because I generally write about music, not movies, but also because I may not be making a lot of friends with my review. Hopefully I won’t lose too many in the process, but I won’t sacrifice truth for popularity. Still, I implore you to read on, as I am willing to bet that even if “To Save A Life” doesn’t hit your local theater, I’m betting that it will hit your local Christian bookstore and maybe even your church. Because this movie was filmed in and around my current home town and thanks to a very friendly publicist, I was able to view this screener as it was being shown for the first time in what is supposedly the final edit. Let me describe what the movie is about, then I will let you know my thoughts on the picture.
The scene starts out with a funeral and a series of flashbacks that provoke the main theme of this movie, which is that the main character Jake Taylor’s childhood best friend, Roger Dawson, had just shot himself, which come to find out was because of the isolation he felt when Jake and everyone else moved on when high school started a few years back. Jake is now forced to ask himself the tough questions, like what could have been done to prevent this? The answers start to come in spurts when a local pastor introduces himself and befriends Jake, inviting him to come to youth group in case he wanted to talk about what was going on.
I’m not so sure what the rules are on movie spoilers, so I’ll just give some of the basics, which is easily done since this movie is pretty much all about the basics. Though I came into the movie thinking that it was a suicide prevention story (it is), it also covers just about every other thing a teenager could face, you know, just in case. Teenage pregnancy, youth groups, rebellious pastor’s kid, underage drinking, drugs, cutting, depression, you name it and it is probably in this movie somewhere. I guess it wasn’t enough to just talk about one thing, so they tossed in everything they could imagine (making this movie probably half an hour longer than it needed to be.
When it comes down to it, however, this project is being marketed as some kind of an outreach, something that they are trying to sell to churches across the country as a way to reach kids. The movie is based around a young man’s search for answers, which lead him to God (somehow), but leaves the viewer with more questions than real answers.
The movie spends so much time trying to show itself as not “religious”, that they forget to mention Jesus Christ. Paul wrote in 1st Corinthians 2: 1-5 that “… I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” This clearly isn’t how this movie plays out, with hardly even an illusion the Word of God (other than a Scripture being heard in the background and a couple mentions of the Bible). No, instead, they have more curse words (two) in the movie (which the pastor says is the coolest thing he’d ever heard) than mentions of Jesus Christ (zero). Yes, there was one very humble moment where Jake prays to God (the Christian God, surely), but without the knowledge of Jesus Christ crucified what is the point of all this? This becomes nothing more than a very well done after school special with all the godliness of a very special “Touched by an Angel” episode.
So what to make of this? Well, besides that my honesty may have hurt some people’s feelings that I really wish I did not have to hurt, this provides us an opportunity. People may be talking about this at your church (or maybe not, this wasn’t a huge budget film, so how far it reaches I do not know), so this may give you who are Christians the opportunity to do what the film lacks, which is to point people to Jesus Christ. The movie may have been done well enough that it intrigues a few people, but without those of you who have been saved by Jesus Christ to convey the message of the gospel then there is no point at all. Thankfully, Christ is in control of these things and if we walk by His Spirit, not by the flesh, then He can use us to show people the love of Christ in His death and resurrection.