Review of Redeeming Love – Bible History Western Godly Struggles for Salvation | Movies
Jhe latest from evangelical Christian producers Pinnacle Peak – formerly Pure Flix, the money behind the surprisingly enduring series God’s Not Dead – is an adaptation of a Francine Rivers novel that remaps the biblical tale of Hosea to a rush setting. the west. This synopsis suggests a level of creative imagination and ambition, perhaps something like Michael Winterbottom transporting the Mayor of Casterbridge further west for 2000’s The Claim. Yet this film barely scatters the value of a 134-minute plot parable and feels like HBO’s Deadwood recut for Sunday school purposes: pious, confusing and punishing, with a sternly wiggling finger never far from entering the frame.
Give this to Pinnacle Peak: they are getting slightly more sophisticated in delivering the Message. DJ Caruso, studio head of mid-2000s thrillers Take Lives and Disturbia, woos farmer Michael Hosea (Tom Lewis) and Pair-a-Dice star sex worker Angel (Abigail Cowen), a handsome and sunny Nicholas. Shine similar to sparks. (It’s the best-looking faith movie since 2014’s Heaven Is For Real.) And unlike the earlier cheaper Pure Flix projects, this one has great actors. Famke Janssen is having fun as a brothel mistress, while the Prospects – raised exclusively on whole grains for breakfast – are pretty sincere in their best little prairie brothel.
Yet Caruso relies on this skill to smooth over past activities for us ranging from the unbelievable to the highly bizarre to the openly misrepresented. It’s not sex positive; the petrified sex is closer to it. Angel’s abuse by various summarily defined bullies is the only action in town, while our righteous hero resists his charms; icy lakes, wood chopping, and banjo picking provide an unintentionally fun on-the-go activity. You can imagine a version of Guy Maddin or John Waters that decouples the chastity belt to revel in the campier, schlockier, and more wanton aspects of this script. That would no doubt scare Pinnacle Peak devotees – but that’s what separates the art from diligently illustrated sermons like this.