The best-selling Christian novel, that imagines what would happen if the “Book of Revelations” happened now, comes to the silver screen. Funded by Christians and starring devoted Christian actors, “Left Behind” had a lot to live up to. The film’s story goes something like this.
Investigative journalist Buck Williams (Growing Pain’s Kirk Cameron) witnesses a flying armada streaking across Middle Eastern skies. He miraculously lives through the attack and is able to capture some of the armada’s destruction. It seems an impending doom is about to grip the world.
As Buck heads back to the States, we are introduced to Rayford Steele (Brad Johnson), a 747 pilot and family man who happens to be having an affair with one of the plane’s flight attendants, Hattie Durham (Chelsea Noble or Mrs. Kirk Cameron). During their flight, the Rayford and Hattie witness a supernatural phenomenon which involves the almost magical disappearance of the plane’s children and random adults. The plane explodes with panic and the plane’s crew does all they can to get the plane landed and secure.
When they arrive home they find that the whole world has been gripped by this phenomenon. The world is in utter chaos and it turns out that Rayford’s family has been hit by the phenomenon because his wife and young son have disappeared.
Rayford breaks down and is utterly devastated. He turns to the bible for comfort and approaches his local preacher (Walker Texas Ranger’s Clarence Gilyard) for answers.
They uncover the biblical reference in Revelations that preaches that the devoted followers of Christ and the innocent will be taken first as the end of the world draws near. Meaning that everyone “left behind” has forsaken the Lord in some respect.
Meanwhile at CNN-clone GNN, Buck Williams is approached by a whistleblower who has a secret about the next UN Leader, Nicolae Carpathia (Gordon Currie). How is Carpathia involved with this chaotic event? Is the biblical interpretation accurate to what has happened to our planet? It seems to be up to Buck Williams to uncover the truth and calm the world.
As I sat back and watched Left Behind, I was amazed and astonished to how bad it actually is. Kirk Cameron as a lead in a apocalyptic movie is one of the worst castings I have ever witnessed. He still looks like a teenager with some grizzled whiskers covering his chin. I also had a huge problem with the film’s pace. It seemed to race as it tried to fit in everything that had to be there in 90 minutes.
The film reminded me a lot of ED WOOD movies, which were really horribly made but had hidden messages and teachings within. For instance, Ed Wood’s “Glen or Glenda” tried to talk to us about cross-dressers but since the film was so bad it came off as a huge joke. In “Left Behind”, we are trying to be taught about the biblical end of the world through a really bad movie.
The bad being that the acting is horribly bad, the direction comes off as confused, pace is rushed and how the characters actually come to the conclusion that the events are in the bible is ridiculous. It’s all circumstantial and will baffle even the most devoted Christians.
You also have to ask yourself, why didn’t either of Kirk Cameron’s lesbian friends get taken? Is that a hidden message? Does this film really take into consideration the whole world? It never talks about other religions and if they were effected. It talks about a billionaire buying up chunks of Jerusalem and that it will aggravate the Arabs. Were any Muslims taken? All these questions baffled me.
I liked the idea of a disaster film that is linked to the book of Revelations but this definitely isn’t that kind of movie. I also liked the fact that the Christian financiers of this film believe that Hollywood is a great way to convey their message. But come on, there was more religious beauty and love in last summer’s Gladiator than in this film.
I am not sure why this film was released for theatres because it definitely should have went to video or been shared by fans of the novels only. Please believe me when I say that I am not a devoted Christian but I am looking at the film as being bad and not the message. I am sure this message is wholesome and delicate but this isn’t the correct venue for this.
(0.5 out of 5)
So Says the Soothsayer.
Written: February 8, 2001