Yesterday I went and saw Courageous. Overall, I was very impressed. Seeing the slow progression in quality and story by the Kendrick brothers over the past eight years has been quite an impressive journey. This was the first movie I didn’t mentally cringe in. The acting was decent, the camera work was acceptable, and the story was much better than their other movies.
Normally, when I walk out of a theater after watching some big budget motion picture, there’s some sort of filth dripping off me. Instead of walking out knowing that the movie I just saw on the big screen should not be repeated in my daily life, I was able to walk out of Courageous with a good message and an actual direction to head.
This is a story of reconciliation. The hearts of fathers turning toward their children and children to their fathers. It is a story with powerful plot points and great highs and lows. They mix the serious nature of life with humor fairly well. The story is very powerful and fairly well shot. My only complaint in regards to the filming, that was really distracting, was how much shaky-cam they used. It was too shaky. Some of the shots weren’t super well framed. I saw an extra look into the camera. But all little things, I didn’t feel they distracted from the movie to a degree that grated on me.
The story is good. One of the things the Kendrick brothers are good at doing is pulling at your emotional heart strings. I thought they did a good job of creating characters that one could connect to. The movie had some very emotional scenes and they did a great job with them. It was still a story that I could only watch once for the pure enjoyment factor. This was for two reasons. Number one, because the characters didn’t have the depth to bring me back again to watch it. The movie was just not driven by the depth of the characters. Number two, the plot didn’t have a large enough web for me to want to see it again. The ending was pretty much as we expected it. But, I liked it much better than their other three films in that it ended realistically. The other films ended with complete reconciliation and left no question in our minds as we left the theater. But that’s unrealistic. And I thought this film was much better. Instead of glorification which doesn’t happen till the end, it ended with the message that even though life will continue to be tough, God brings difficult circumstances to sanctify us to be more like Him each and every day of our lives.
There were parts that were sub-standard and had a television feel to them. Some of the shots looked like a television show. It felt like they took about 6 plots and played them parallel. Which may have been why the depth of the characters suffered some. The film is much better than many films that dropped seventy million dollars on a much worse plot. I’m just grasping for straws here.
The ending was kind of disappointing. Instead of ending the film where it should have ended, instead there was a bit of an altar call at the end. Of course, it was well done. But I felt like it wasn’t as good of an ending as it could have been.
Overall, an amazing movie. It’s the best that a Christian director has ever pulled together. And for Alex Kendrick to play the main character and direct the entire film, I’m super impressed. So, go see it in theatres and support a Christian director and film.