This past weekend, I saw the new movie, Courageous, twice–once with my wife, and then again with my son. Like Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof before it, it has a strong faith-based message. How could it not–being made by the same team–brothers Stephen, and Alex, Kendrick–that was behind those fine films?
I say “fine” not because their production values match up to Hollywood’s–because they don’t–but because their movies (despite some preachiness) have something that many movies today lack: a heart. You know these guys put their blood, sweat, and tears into their movies–and it shows. And unlike most of the prevailing culture, they have the courage of their convictions–you know they believe what they’re telling you. And culture certainly bears witness to the fact that there is indeed a “fatherless crisis.” Else, why are there organizations like The Mentoring Prohect?
Back to Courageous. It is this subject that the brothers Kendrick tackle in this latest film: fatherlessness, paternal uninvolvement, and the consequences of not being proactive in our parenting. I know from personal experience that the lack of having a dad who was engaged, involved, and available to me, set me up for many, many struggles, and pitfalls, that could have been avoided.
Which is why, despite whatever artistic flaws the film may have–a little overlong, a touch disjointed in its editing–its message resonated strongly with me.
On the surface, it is the story of police officers who display courage day-in-and-day-out on the job, but aren’t quite measuring up at home. Their lives intersect with a young man trying to provide for his family, a teen who doesn’t have anybody, and ganbangers. I don’t want to say anymore, lest I spoil it for you. What I will say is that there is an “inciting incident” you won’t soon forget.
This is by far the most serious, sobering, action-oriented, and yet funny, film the Kendricks have made. Like life, it will make you laugh, cry, and think.
If you let it. I know it is de rigeur to be cynical about movies such as this one–decrying the fact that the message gobbles up the art and artistry. But so what if it does? These guys–the Kendricks–like Steve Jobs before them–actually believe they, through the power of God, can change the world. So here’s to the “crazy ones!” I for one applaud them for having the courage to try. Would that there were more men like them.