Release Date: August 28, 2015
Director: Alex Kendrick
Writer: Alex Kendrick, Stephen Kendrick
Cast: Priscilla C. Shirer, T.C. Stallings, Karen Abercrombie, Beth Moore, Michael Jr., Jadin Harris, Tenae Downing, Alena Pitts, Kathleen Dellinger
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 120 minutes
Production Company: FaithStep Films, Affirm Films, Red Sky Studios, TriStar Pictures, Sony Picutres Releasing (USA)
Budget: $3,000,000 (esitmate)
Looks can be deceiving in many forms. What looks nice, shiny, and bright on the outside can actually be dark, sad, and gloomy on the inside. This illusion that haunts many must be addressed before it bursts out and consumes you. If remained unchecked, this daunting curse can redefine who you are, turning you into a beast no one would want to be around. You can find light at the end of the tunnel through prayer, and that’s where the film’s main focus is. Not taking the acting into consideration, it can be said that ‘War Room’ has a powerful message regarding what the power of prayer can really do. The delivery of this message is a little abrupt, but it’s easily understood by the believers of Christ. However, the non-believers may have a harder time making sense of it.
Even from the trailers, it’s clear this production is only concerned with delivering the message. Yes, any film wants financial success, and to be praised for its story and superb performances, but that wasn’t this film’s main goal. The acting was extremely questionable, but knowing that wasn’t the point of focus, this aspect hasn’t interfered with my overall assessment of the film.
Even if you have a powerful message to share, you will still need good characters to convey that point. So I was turned off when the husband Tony Jordan (T.C. Stallings) appeared on screen for the first time: as angry as hell. His character tries to create tension, without any valid reason for his tantrums. His wife Elizabeth Jordan (Priscilla C. Shirer) is a sweetheart who makes you laugh with her smelly feet, but that joke gets old far too quickly. Alena Pitts who plays the daughter Danielle Jordan has delivered the best performance by far. During one scene in particular, she stole the show both shocking me and convinced. I was blown away by this young actress and I look forward to her future performances. Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie) had the most important role of all. She was a lighthearted, sweet woman playing the vessel of God to spread his word. She knew her material well and was ever ready for any obstacle, but her intrusiveness early on is an annoyance, and an example of why some non-believers may be turn off from God.
Some of my favorite foods on the planet are chicken cheese nachos, stuffed crust pepperoni pizza and Ben and Jerry’s strawberry cheese cake ice-cream. If I’m having a terrible day, knowing these are at home waiting for me will motivate me to get through the day. I like to take my time to savor the flavor with each bite when I eat these. Sometimes, I may want it all at once or I take my time to make the savoring last. I definitely don’t want someone standing over me, shoving it down my throat. Miss Clara has a very difficult time understanding this notion. I understand she had a mission from God, but during the first half of the film, she’s asks too many questions that don’t concern her and quotes scriptures in every other dialog of hers. Yes this is one of the main responsibilities of a Christian: to bring people to Christ; but there is a right and a wrong way to do so. She had the perfect message, but she would ring your doorbell at three in the morning to deliver it (I don’t mean that literally).
The overall story is the best part. It’s clear, straight forward and doesn’t waste the audience’s time. The power of prayer is amazing and the film does a great job of making that clear. It’s a good representation of forgiveness and the weight being lifted off one’s shoulders from confession. It’s simple, suggesting one to treat others the way you want to be treated, and gives examples of how you can benefit from this. As mentioned before, while the acting wasn’t the priority, one scene during a marital confrontation nearly brought me to tears. Everyone else in the theater had beaten me in reaching for their tissues.
I think the main goal of War Room was the message it intended to convey. It did that and more, and I enjoyed every moment of it. This is Alex Kendrick’s fifth time as a director and I can say he’s done it again. Each film is better than his last and I applaud him for all his efforts. The movie’s message came across strongly and I’m sure it will reach a number of people; however, it still pushes some themes a little too roughly. While a part of the conclusion was nearly everything I wanted it to be, it was too much of noise with all the believers reaching for heaven. There’s nothing wrong with this action, but within the movie’s context, it seemed out of place. I would completely understand if a non-believer couldn’t connect with the happenings on screen at this final point. I’m not giving this a letter grade based on the resources and goal of the production. It may be hard for non-believers to understand the message, but with little effort, some clarity may arise.