Do You Believe?
Film Review by Kam Williams
Strangers Lives Serendipitously Intersect in Transparent Faith-Based Adventure
If you’re familiar with the Best Picture Oscar-winner Crash (2004) and Thornton Wilder’s classic novel “The Bridge over San Luis Rey,” then you have a decent idea of what to expect from Do You Believe? Directed by Jonathan M. Gunn (Like Dandelion Dust), the picture is a heavy-handy faith-based flick which relies heavily on a combination of astounding coincidences and simplistic sermonizing to deliver its message.
The overplotted adventure litters the screen with more storylines than most would care to keep track of, especially since, regardless of the issue, the tension invariably builds up to the same basic question, namely, whether or not someone is a believer. My guess is that this absence of subtlety is apt to wear on audience members’ nerves after awhile, whether they be Christian or heathens.
To its credit, the film does feature a talented A-List cast which includes Lee Majors, Mira Sorvino, Cybill Shepherd and Sean Astin. Everybody throws themselves into the production with an admirable gusto, despite their ultimately being crippled by a mediocre script.
Among the dozen main characters are a veteran suffering from PTSD (Joseph Julian Soria); a married couple (Shepherd and Majors) mourning the death of their only child; a homeless widow (Sorvino) trying to survive on the streets with her young daughter (Mackenzie Moss); and ghetto gangstas (Senyo Amaoku and Shwayze) ostensibly operating without a functioning conscience.
Unfortunately, the transparent proselytizing employed here is likely to elicit the opposite response of what the director desires. The cinematic equivalent of a Jehovah’s Witness who won’t take “no” for an answer getting his foot stuck in your door. More of an annoying sales pitch than an entertaining, spiritually-oriented feature.
Fair (1 star)
Rated PG-13 for mature themes, an accident scene and brief violence.
Running time: 112 minutes
Distributor: Pure Flix Entertainment