Nov. 2, 2010
John Ward, Todd Zeile, Tomas Boykin, Stefan Hajek, Josie Gammell
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By Hannah Goodwyn
CBN.com - “I Am” was the name God shared with Moses on Mt. Sinai. And now it’s the point at which a new Christian film of the same name starts its faith journey. Awfully similar to the 2006 Best Picture Oscar winner, Crash, I AM follows the interweaving lives of troubled characters living in Los Angeles.
Its story measures humanity against the Ten Commandments as they are listed in Exodus 20 of the Bible. With each law, a character in the film illustrates immorality and the soul search one goes through when they’re at their wits end. The ministry element is present (which is exciting to see), but the package in which I AM is wrapped is imperfect.
The Movie in a Minute
District Attorney Aaron Rossdale (John Ward) is a rising star in the L.A. political scene. Some say he could be the next governor of California, but that will not happen if aspects of his personal life aren’t spotless. Everything comes to a head as Aaron's life intersects with a grieving father, a depressed doctor, a vengeful detective, a wealthy business man, and a local reporter. The guidance of a mysterious stranger implores each of them to measure their morality and faith, but not all adhere to the “commandments”, nor seek salvation.
The Good and the Bad in I AM
Though the story’s concept is intriguing, some of the cinematography and art direction is exceptional, and a few of the roles are well acted, the script and the cohesiveness of the film are lacking.
With a story reminiscent of Crash and Seven (which revolves around the seven deadly sins), I AM is set up from the get-go to be a biblically-based dramatic thrill. However, it seems to try too hard. The script fails the storyline in its dialogue. One problem is with unbelieving characters using Christianese language.
Some of the notable successes in the film are intrinsically connected to some of its weaknesses, namely the acting. While some of the major roles, portrayed by writer/director John Ward and Stefan Hajek (who plays Det. Jake Russell), are superbly acted, a handful of the secondary actors show their inexperience.
In the End
Unfortunately, the entertainment quality of I Am is not outstanding. However, the spiritual impact this new Christian film could have in illustrating the effect of sin is commendable.
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Hannah Goodwyn is CBN.com's Family and Entertainment producer. For more articles and information, visit Hannah's bio page.
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