Recently I saw The Imposter, which is a Christian film featuring Kevin Max, formerly of DC Talk. It tells the story of a singer of a Christian band who is not a Christian and is addicted to drugs. He has a wife who wants nothing to do with him and a brother-in-law who hates him, who is ironically a worship leader.
The movie did have a made-for-TV type feel to it. The acting and production were about the same as a lot of the other Christian movies with a little bit of cheesy musical interlude during dramatic scenes. I think where it went wrong was the script. Kevin Max’s character is so absolutely unlikeable I couldn’t find it in myself to cheer for the guy. I also feel like this movie and Steve Taylor’s “The Second Chance” are really like the Nashville people trying to tell a certain story to have some sort of commentary about their industry. Personally, I also don’t like movies where the actors lip sync to music or the actors are musicians.
With Christian movies there is always that urge to resolve the problems by the film’s end when in reality some problems never wrap up that neatly and progress comes very slowly. While the Imposter resists that temptation for Kevin Max’s wife to take him back in the end, it doesn’t leave the audience with a good sense of closure.
I think the goal of Christian movies is pretty noble, but if the script is not rock solid it’s going to be really hard to get that message across properly. In my opinion, in some cases the Christian music on the soundtrack seems to be more important than the actual story. While I do feel like a properly placed song can really benefit a movie, I think there is a danger if the music is overshadowing the film.
In the end it all gets back to writing because a typical Christian movie is not going to emphasize sex, drugs, gore, violence or in many cases special effects. Christians are often portrayed as a stereotype in movie such as Saved! As much praise as Hollywood gets for making movies it has rarely ever portrayed Christians as real people with real problems. I think Christian movies will be better received when they portray faith in a way that mirrors reality.