“Fireproof”… a breath of fresh air

7 10 2008

Have you seen the new film Fireproof?  If not, I highly recommend it!

I asked my mom to babysit the kids so Michelle and I could get out for a quiet dinner for two, and my lovely parents gave me the ol’ $40 handshake and told us to catch a movie and make an evening of it.  Normally, this would have been tough because finding a movie that appeals to both Michelle and I is like finding a decent running back in my fantasy football league… it ain’t happening.

But wonder of wonders, we remembered that Fireproof was opening that weekend, and we were both curious to see what it was all about.  Fireproof is the latest production of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, GA.  Their previous films include Flywheel and Facing the Giants, both of which I have heard great things about, but I have not seen them myself.

Fireproof follows a man whose marriage has taken a turn for the worse and both have begun the divorce process.  Through spurring on by friends and family, he decides to give it one last go to try to save the marriage.  This attempt at reconciliation, however, is done according to the rules of a 40-day program given to him by his father.  This program is a biblical model that focuses the husband to change his attitudes and decisions towards his wife.

Two things about this movie really caught my attention:

1. It was very well made and entertaining
Most of the critique against independent Christian films is that they work with such a small budget and have such an intense focus on evangelism, that they have very low production value and typically an awkward gospel presentation stuck in the middle of the movie.  Now we can’t fault well-intentioned people for not have buckets of money and a fire for the gospel, but we have to be realistic that these kinds of movie will have a hard time capturing the viewer’s attention and won’t sell very well.  Profit is obviously not the goal here, but if people won’t buy the ticket, they won’t see the movie.

Fireproof was made with a paltry (by Hollywood’s standards) $500,000, but it doesn’t show.  The story is engaging, the effects are limited but effective (I feel less is always more anyways), the action scenes are actually riveting, and comedic relief is pretty funny.  And let me say that if a movie has me convinced that Kirk Cameron of all people is half a step away from striking a woman… then the directing, acting, and shot composition are all doing a pretty good job.

2. It conveyed truth in a relevant and moving way
This movie is not a gospel tract dressed up with a plot and costumes.  It takes an all to common scenario in our world and approaches it through the worldview that all chaos and dysfunction is the result of sin.  A worldview that sees the real solution to problems as Christ, not blame-shifting and more division.  The turning point in this film is a powerful moment when the main character is cleverly shown the correlation between what the problems in his marriage and the problem that exists between he and God.

I was equally impressed with the way that the movie handled difficult subjects.  The movie covers divorce, infidelity, and pornography, but still maintains a PG rating.  This movie was a wonderful experience and I’m hoping that the impressive profit margin it is enjoying prompts more investors to give more film projects with a biblical worldview a chance.

More on “Fireproof”:
Official site
Showtimes
An interesting article on how the film came about

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