TRIGGER: DISCUSSION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
The “Part 1” is actually part of the movie title. I did not add it.
Joining me virtually today is my co-snarker, Summer. We’re going to grab a virtual bottle of wine, a virtual bag of popcorn, and enjoy ourselves.
The Great Controversy ended, Part 1 is put out by Seventh Day Adventists, though they have made attempts to make it more like mainstream Christianity. Normally when I see that I think they’re trying to hide their Adventism, but in this case I can see why they’d want to do this. On the one hand, it will help them appeal to a wider audience. On the other hand, it takes away the special brand of crazy that SDA end times belief have. Conservative Adventists will criticize it for being too mainstream, while more mainstream and liberal Adventists will criticize it for….well, everything else. In fact, Adventists on the liberal end of the scale are used to seeing quality movies, so they probably won’t get far enough into it to criticize the theology.
The last Adventist movie I reviewed was Tell The World. I had many things to say about that movie. The main thing I had to criticize about it was that it tried to do too much, and instead wound up doing too little. But you know what? At least the creators of that movie were trying. It sucked, but you get the feeling that whoever made the movie is putting forth a lot of effort, and is willing to learn from their mistakes and do better next time.
This movie, on the other hand, does not try to do too much. In fact, it looks like the creators are not trying at all. It’s like they think that if they slap a “Christian” label on it (and also an Adventist one), Christians (and Adventists) will lap it up and open their wallets and throw more money their way for the sequel.
I shall await eagerly to see if this is the case. I rather suspect not.
For a while, this movie was on Youtube, but that was never intended to be permanent. By the time this review goes up, the movie will have been taken down. Sometimes these reviews take a long time to edit, so they don’t always go up on the day I write them.
I include this disclaimer because when I watch movies, I need to see subtitles. As we all know, however, YouTube subtitles are a joke. As such, I may get some of the dialogue wrong, and for that I apologize.
The movie starts with a woman talking. She has an Australian accent and introduces herself as the director of the film, tells us she hopes we enjoy the show, and God bless. The lights fade to black.
This isn’t how movies begin, this is how documentaries start.
We then open with some establishing shots of a mountain range. Which mountain range is anyone’s guess. Even the characters in this movie don’t know. (One of the women in the cave will later tell us, “I don’t even know where “here” is.” Honestly, it would have been better if your characters didn’t point that out.)
Next we are shown an establishing shot of a cave entrance before cutting to an interior shot of a huge, extremely well lit cave. A lot of
people, most of them women are sitting around on rocks. Why they haven’t cleared out the rocks and come up with some more comfortable seating is beyond me, but set it aside.
We cut to an extremely close close-up (no seriously, it’s too close) of Nose Ring. I asked my co-snarker, Summer, if the nose ring was meant to scream “evil heathen.”
Summer: I think it’s because it’s made in Australia. They seem to be far more liberal about jewelry.
Me: Then why do all the actors sound American?
In any case, Nose Ring’s face is dirty and streaked with tears.
Nose Ring: Why do they all hate us? They think we can control what happens? Who do they think we are? *sniff* God?
Snowflake Hat: They don’t care who they blame. As long as they don’t blame themselves.
One thing this movie does have going for it: the cast has racial diversity. Snowflake Hat is not the only black woman. I like that. That’s one thing the makers of this film did well.
NoseRing: *cries harder* *angry look on face* I mean it’s like they think we can control things!
Nose Ring goes on to list the things the Christians are getting blamed for. After each, stock footage is displayed. Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes…for some reason she cries especially hard when she mentions tsunamis, at which point stock footage is shown of what looks to me like a regular wave.
Nose Ring (voice rising shrilly): LIKE WE HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THAT! *points dramatically*. *sobs louder*
Ouch. That shrill voice was extremely high. Excuse me. I have to go calm down my cat.
In a better movie, this emphasis on the reaction about the tsunamis would have done for a purpose. In a better movie, this would have been done because Nose Ring was personally affected by them somehow. In a better movie, this would possibly be a big reveal later. Instead, this comes across as the character over acting. Her dramatic boo hoos and tears are over the top. I’m not sure if this is because she herself is a terrible actress, or if the director told her to do that.
In any case, this is all clunky exposition. Instead of shots of pretty clouds during the opening credits, why not show some establishing shots of said earthquakes, tsunamis, etc? Then Nose Ring could just say, “as if all the calamities/natural disasters are our fault.”
As to Snowflake Hat’s comment about people not wanting to blame themselves… well yeah. Unless they invented some kind of weather control device, they can’t blame themselves. Newsflash people: Non Christians have just as little control over the weather as Christians.
Snowflake Hat then informs us that 17 million people died in these natural disasters. I made Summer calculate how many people that is. The world’s population currently stands at roughly 7.5 billion people, give or take. 17 million is only .22-.23%. Basically, that’s really REALLY not a large percent of the population.
We cut away to a closeup of a white woman having a panic attack.
“What if it’s too late? Too Late!”
Her breathing speeds and she rocks back and forth. I’m not sure if the director intended this or not, this is a very accurate description of a panic attack. If it is deliberate, this is well done.
Snowflake Hat: Get a grip on it would you Alex? You’re not the only one here you know?
You know what, shut up Snowflake. This is not the way you deal with someone having a panic attack. No one, in the history of the world, has ever calmed down after being told “get a grip on it” in a voice that indicates complete and utter frustration.
That being said, I absolutely understand Snowflake Hat’s complete and utter frustration. All we’ve seen these women do so far is cry and whine and panic. Actually, spoiler alert, that’s all they do during the entire movie. I’m not kidding. I shall hereafter refer to these people as “the whining women.” Or, since this is an Australian film, “the whingeing women.” I like the word “whinge” better. You Australians have all the good words.
As Alex says she has done “terrible things,” we get a flashback of Alex going into a house with bare shoulders (I can’t tell if she’s wearing anything at all, actually) and then this really dark photo of a creepy looking guy.
So, what “terrible things” has Alex done? Unless she murdered this guy, (who honestly looks like he would’ve tried to murder her first) what does she have to feel so awful about? Oh wait, Christians react like this every time they have sex. I bet that’s what Alex did with this guy. Sex is a terrible TERRIBLE thing ladies.
Alex: This one time–
Snowflake Hat: look, I don’t need to know.
Yes, yes we do. If you’re going to tell us we don’t need to know what Alex has done, don’t give us clues about what she did. Don’t give us flashbacks of creepy guys in suits. If you’re going to go there, don’t go half way. Show (or tell) your audience the rest.
Summer: I wanna know too!
Me: I know, right?
Snowflake Hat: The past is gone. In fact, the whole world is almost gone.
I like this line.
There’s more talk from Snowflake about how God is good and forgives, and then 1 John 1:9 gets quoted:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Then we cut to….wait, what?
No, seriously. In case you didn’t understand what was going on from the clunky exposition the women just gave, here is a man to explain it to us.
Any points you earned by having a racially diverse cast and mostly female characters just got erased.
The man does give us his real name, but I’m going to call him Mr. Clunky-Exposition-Guy (hereafter referred to as Mr. CEG.)
Mr. CEG tells us about Satan being allowed to cause God’s people a lot of suffering. You know what would work better? Showing us this. Show us Satan talking to God. Show God giving him free reign. Or show Satan somehow causing the tsunamis that killed Nose Ring’s family. How exactly you show Satan working is up to you, but you do need to show him.
Mr. CEG then tells us that Christians looking back over their lives will find little to like. That’s literally what we just saw. And we already know they’re in the Time of Trouble(tm) because we read the YouTube description. There is no need to tell us either of these things.
Rule #1 in film making: Your audience is not stupid. Do not treat them as such.
Rule #2 Don’t do anything to jerk your readers out of the story.
Mr. CEG violates both these rules. As such, every single one of his scenes needs to be cut.
We go back to the whingeing women in the cave. Brown Jacket stands up and announces she’s leaving. A girl in braces grabs her arm and begs her to stay. Brown Jacket sits back down.
Why was this convincing? Is Braces her daughter? Niece? Adopted daughter after her parents died in an earthquake? Why does Brown Jacket stay when Braces begs? We get no explanation for why this happens, and the acting is so bad it doesn’t make sense.
Brown Jacket: What’s good enough? Are you good enough? Am I good enough?
Snowflake Hat: When did you become your own God, Lisa?
Lisa(angrily): I’m not claiming to be God. What are you talking about?
Finally, a character who makes sense! Seriously, Lisa is asking some good questions and Snowflake hat is asking stupid off topic questions. Good job shooting her down, Lisa.
Lisa: All I want to know is how sorry is sorry enough.
Look everyone, my new favorite character!
I didn’t put a ? at the end of that sentence because that’s not how it’s spoken. It’s spoken in an angry tone of voice, as if Lisa herself doesn’t expect an answer. Maybe she doesn’t. Maybe she’s given up on feeling “sorry enough.”
Lisa then angrily rants about how she can’t even remember every single sin she’s ever committed, then panics over whether or not she forgot something.
Mr. Clunky Exposition Guy then steps in to explain that this is a common thing that people will go through during the Time of Trouble. Like we hadn’t already figured that out from watching Lisa. Like we hadn’t already thought of that during Bible class. Like every single child in our cloistered cult hasn’t been kept awake at night with nightmares about this very thing.
Seriously, cut Mr. Clunky Exposition Guy.
Speaking of which, who is the audience for this movie? If it is Christians, especially Adventist Christians, they’re going to feel talked down to. If it is non Christians, they’re not going to get past the bad acting in the first 5 minutes to even bother being turned off by Mr. CEG.
I get that the film makers want to appeal to all groups, but in movie making this is not always a good idea. You’d have a much stronger message if you picked an audience and catered to them.
Mr. CEG tells us that the way Lisa is feeling –like she’s not good enough–is Satan attacking her.
Yanno what would be more effective? Have a guy play Satan and show him whispering these things into her ear. Have it established that Satan is invisible to these women. That would work. That would be creepily effectiv
Back to the women in the cave. One of the white women starts talking to a woman with dark brown skin and dreadlocks. She’s wearing a white hoodie that is either covered in blood or some kind of red dirt. I’ll call her “White Hoodie” for now.
In any case, the white woman (I apologize if I’m supposed to know who this is. I have trouble differentiating faces), talks about how she grew up in a good Christian home with parents who were constantly talking to her about the end times. Flashbacks of a baby sitting between parents.
White Woman: Somehow it always came back to haunt me
A very accurate description of the brainwashing that goes on in the SDA church and church schools. Even though I know logically that it is all bullshit, there’s still that terrifying feeling of what if I’m wrong.
White Hoodie says she also grew up in a Christian home. She says she always wanted to be a good little Christian, but she never felt like she was good enough. For some reason, we get a flashback of her dropping a Bible on a couch.
White Woman then talks about how hard she tried to be a good Christian and follow all the rules. There’s a flashback (with no sound) of her parents yelling at her. White Woman walks out the door. She tells us that she left her parents, but no matter how far away she got, she couldn’t get her parents’ sayings out of her head. Flashback of her tossing and turning in bed, unable to sleep.
This also strikes me as a most realistic description of the brainwashing. Er, excuse me, I mean “god working on her heart.”
Also, it sounds like her parents were part of the problem. Even though, in this universe, they were right, they could have not yelled at their daughter, and focused more on God’s love instead of guilt tripping her over stupid shit. Seriously, parents like these actually wonder why their kids are turned off from religion when they themselves are part of the problem.
White Hoodie then says something that I find interesting. So interesting I am in fact surprised to find it in a Christian film.
I can’t tell you how much I wish that there was no God. No Law. No commandments. So that I could just live my life….free. To be in peace.
My heart goes out to this woman. Because I’ve been there. I went through a period in my teens when I believed in God, I just didn’t want to follow him. I knew I was going to hell, I just didn’t care. I tried not to think about it.
And this is exactly what I said in my journal, nearly word for word.
I don’t think we’re supposed to nod along in agreement with White Hoodie. But I know that my Christian self from 10 years ago would have.
How many other Christians are also nodding along in agreement? How many of them are sitting there wishing the very same thing?
In any case, it is time for Mr. Clunky Exposition Guy to start talking. Mr. CEG talks about the basics of the Great Controversy: the war in heaven, etc.
There’s a really blurry shot of a soldier shooting a woman in a prison cell. Like, super blurry, for no good reason. And it lasts too long. Hurts my eyes to look at it.
Mr. CEG: Should they prove unworthy, and lose their lives because of their own defects of character, then God’s holy name will be reproached.
Wow, fear mongering much?
Back to the women in the cave. One of them is reading out loud from the Bible.
Summer: I still have a question….. if they are theoretically hiding in the mountains, how have they stayed hidden when there are helicopters and when there is heat signature technology?
Me: Ummmm God? He couldn’t relieve their suffering but he could do something about the evil technology? Maybe that nuclear bomb that went off has something to do with it? Actually, if they’d included that, that would be a semi plausible explanation and you could at least say that the writers were trying. We’ll be generous and assume that that’s the case, and that they felt they didn’t need to talk down to their audience by explaining this.
The women sit there and listen to the lady read a chapter from Psalms. They are wearing coats, rubbing their arms, as if they’re cold. (And actually, if they are filming in a real cave, this might not actually be acting.)
Finally, showing instead of telling! It’s still bad acting and super obvious, but points for trying.
Summer: OH LOOK – THE FIRST MALE I HAVE SEEN @ 12:34
Yes folks, this movie does have a guy in it. There is one guy, in a cave with like, 10 women. I giggled at that because I am 12.
As the woman reads from the Bible, we hear other women sniffing loudly.
Mr. CEG cuts in to talk some more.
Wait, seriously, we cut away from Mr. CEG the first time just so we could watch the women reading Bible verses? Literally that is all that has happened in this scene. It could be cut. No one cares.
Mr. CEG talks about people thinking God will overlook their “minor sins.”
Summer: Lesbians. They had to put the lesbians in there while talking about people who excuse their sins……
Me: I know, right? These people aren’t sinning, jeez. Also, they look like they are over acting. They are clearly straight women who are very uncomfortable with the idea of pretending to be lesbians. Also, I didn’t screenshot a scene of them as they were doing something. They are sitting there posed like this. This is just a picture. Nobody poses like this.
Mr. CEG: All who endeavor to conceal their sins, and allow them to remain….unconfessed will be overcome by Satan.
Well Summer, looks like you’re going to hell in a hand basket.
Mr. CEG tells us that, at the second coming, many will confess their sins, but at that point it will be too late, and their confessions will be worthless.
TRIGGER WARNING: DISCUSSION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
After Mr. CEG is done talking, we cut to a scene of a man in a prison guard uniform, who is in a cell with a dirt floor. He is talking to a woman who I’m going to call PrisonerLady. The guard tells the woman that she would be free if only she would renounce her beliefs.
I’m not sure if the directors meant for this to be the case, but the way the woman is reacting to this man…it indicates a certain tension that I’m not sure was meant to be indicated. Going off the woman’s body language, and also the guard’s….well, it brings to mind a question that weighed heavily on my mind as a teenager: would Christian persecution in the end times possibly include rape? Because the way the actors are behaving would indicate that such has taken place.
Summer: Oh my god…. that is the only thing I could think of through that whole story line and it was seriously creeping me out. I feel like it’s a more realistic take as well 😬😬
It is never stated that the guard raped the woman, mind you. But that is the way it comes across. If this was done purposely, well played. Great acting.
If this was not done purposely, that is horrifying and you need to rethink your movie.
I’m debating whether or not to include a couple of screenshots of it, to see if anyone else agrees. I’m leaning toward “no.” I don’t want to trigger anyone anymore than I likely already have.
In any case, as the woman cringes away from him and has a panic attack, the guard tells her that she can be free if only she says “a few simple words.” When the woman asks what those words are, he says
Guard: why do you keep asking me that? You know the words.
Um, guys? The audience doesn’t know the words. If you’re going to have a scene where the woman asks “what words,” then your guard needs to give an answer. If you’re going to set up the clunky exposition, at least follow through.
This is one of those rare situations where it’s ok to tell some stuff.
And then, in case the sexual tension wasn’t clear enough, the guard says, on his way out the door:
Guard: Fine. Have it your way. The Hard way.
After he’s gone, the woman feels a pile of rocks with her hands. At first I think she’s saying, “stew,” but then I hear more clearly, “240.”
Wait, hang on. Rocks? In a jail cell? And dirt floors? Where is this prison located? Because prisons in developed countries (like Australia and America) do not have rocks OR dirt floors. Rocks, even small ones, could potentially be used as weapons, and dirt floors are a no no because then prisoners could dig their way out.
I used to write to a friend who was incarcerated. He wrote me pages and pages about what prison life was like.
In any case, the woman screams at God that she has been here for months. She’s not sure how much longer she can hold on, and will she be in here for years?
It’s terrible acting, but this is a heartfelt prayer. They get half a point for trying.
Mr. Clunky Exposition Guy butts in to tell us all about the horrible persecution that awaits God’s people, who need to be willing to deny self. He does a lot of fear mongering.
We cut from Mr. CEG to another pointless story arc that goes nowhere. A man and his daughter are fleeing the city.
They sit down to rest by an abandoned building. I’m going to guess the child is roughly 3 or 4 years old. She’s freakin’ adorable, and her dad isn’t so bad looking himself.
Child: Daddy why do we have to keep on walking? Why do we have to keep on walking?
Man: We have to leave the city. The city’s not safe.
Child: I trust you daddy
Whoever wrote this script has zero idea of what small children are like. A real child not being fed her lines would say, “but why is the city not safe?!” or… anything. I get that the filmmakers want to emphasize that we must have the same childlike trust in God as the little girl in this movie has for her father, but it’s just so badly done that the message gets lost.
The man and his daughter walk 5 feet and then sit down again.
The daughter says she wants to go home, and how will Jesus find them if they leave? The dad tells the child Jesus knows where everybody is and is watching them right now.
Child: In the sky?”
No, sorry. No child would say,”in the sky” after being told such. Most children I know would say, “even in the bathroom?!” with horrified looks on their faces.
Or was I the only 5 year old who was completely weirded out by the idea of Jesus and all the angels of heaven watching me poop?
The father tells the kid that Jesus loves her even more than Daddy loves her. And daddy loves her very much. They then have a “I love you more, no I love you more” argument. It’s cute, the kid is adorable.
They get up and walk away. I think we see the father and daughter one other time in the entire movie, neither times are they doing anything particularly relevant to the plot. The kid’s cute and all, but their sub plot could have been cut and we would have lost nothing.
Mr. CEG comes in to talk to us more about the time of trouble. He tells us that many are too lazy to form the relationship with God that will be necessary in the time of trouble.
Mr. CEG: It is often the case that trouble is greater in anticipation than in reality.
Stock footage of plains taking off, bombs dropping, soldiers shooting, etc.
Mr. CEG then tells us that this will not be true in the time of trouble. In fact, the time of trouble will be the worst possible thing we can imagine, except worse. Seriously, he just gave every single person watching this more fodder for the horrible nightmares they’re already having.
Back to the whinging women in the cave. Snowflake Hat covers Nose Ring, who is shivering violently, with a blanket. Nose Ring then thanks her for all she’s done. She also tells the audience that Snowflake Hat brought them all to the cave and has watched out for them quite a bit.
This won’t be revealed till the next movie, but I’m going to put $10 down that Snowflake Hat is a guardian angel. Because nothing in this movie is subtle.
Nose Ring: “I’m scared, Jamie.”
We’re at 21:33, and this is the first time we get a name for Snowflake Hat. I’m gonna keep on calling her Snowflake Hat because I am too lazy to go back and edit.
Nose Ring cries more about how scared she is. These women cry and whine a lot. Which is probably realistic, but doesn’t really make for good storytelling.
Mr. CEG talks about how we need to trust in God.
We cut back to the prison guard and PrisonerLady in a cell by herself. Unlike last time, the prison guard doesn’t turn on the lights when he comes in. He approaches the woman, who is curled up on the ground in the fetal position. It’s incredibly creepy. You almost get the feeling that he’s planning to do something besides talk to her .
The guard tells her he has had her scheduled to be released this very afternoon, and that her family will be there.
Guard: It wasn’t easy, but I did it. You’ll be free by tonight.
Closeup of the woman’s reaction:
Wait, seriously? Why has the prison guard gone to all this trouble to help this woman, who has shown no signs of giving in?
I’m going to assume that the guard is lying. Either he is lying about having gone to a lot of trouble to secure her release, or he is lying about it being difficult to secure her release.
If one of these things is not true, then the guard’s actions here make no sense.
Seriously, this guy is terrible at his job.
As the guard tells her that she has to sign “a retraction” before she can leave, his face is very close to hers, she’s lying down and she’s acting like she is terrified.
This is creepy, but not for the reasons the movie makers planned.
PrisonerWoman: Retract what?
Guard: Why do you always ask me this? You know what.
This is probably realistic, but at the same time, you need to stop this. The audience doesn’t know what. This is one of the rare cases where you are telling too little. I mean, what exactly do they want her to retract? Her faith in God? Her commitment to keeping the Sabbath?
A mainstream Christian would assume the former, but an Adventist is going to be wondering what exactly the woman is supposed to retract. Because Adventists don’t believe that, in the last days, Christians are going to be persecuted for worshiping Jesus. They believe Adventist Christians are going to be persecuted specifically for keeping the Sabbath. And so, while a mainstream Christian would probably know what is being referred to, an Adventist is going to wonder how distinctly Adventist this movie is supposed to be. An Adventist audience is going to feel that they are missing something.
In some cases, you can tell us less and we won’t feel talked down to. This is not one of those cases.
The woman refuses to retract anything (she still doesn’t say what it is she is not retracting) because she can’t go against her conscience.
The guard yells, the woman cries.
Guard: We’ll play it your way. Tomorrow, I’ll send him in here
At this the woman, who previously has been shaking with anxiety, throws an all out panic attack fit. I….don’t know what that’s about.
Mr. CEG: With sympathizing tenderness, angels witness the suffering of god’s people int he time of trouble…but they are waiting the word of their commander to snatch them from their peril. Yet they must wait a little longer.
I never thought about this before, but that would really suck. I mean, think about it: you’re an angel and could help your human charges at any time. And yet God makes you stand there and do nothing but watch as your charges are brutally tortured.
Someone has to make a fanfiction of this. Perhaps a story where a guardian angel can’t take it any more, steps in, and saves the human, thereby incurring the wrath of God?
I’m way too lazy for that sort of thing, so someone else needs to.
Back to PrisonerLady, the prison guard walks over to her sleeping form. The Lady is curled up in the fetal position. The guard steps over her and the woman shrieks.
The guard tells her that she would be better dead than alive, and I can’t help but agree. If the woman is dead, she won’t be alive to suffer anymore. If the woman is dead, she is also saved for all eternity, there’s no chance she’ll fuck up and sin and therefore damn herself to hell.
I’m sure the director’s didn’t intend this, but this scene, too, is rife with sexual tension. The way the guard speaks, the way he moves, the way he pants, the way he sweats….. oh yeah, he totally wants to bone her. And he doesn’t much care if he gets “no” for an answer.
If PrisonerLady is dead, she won’t care much if the prison guard rapes her.
If the film directors did intend for this to be there, this is well done. If they did not intend for this to be here, they need to re-shoot these scenes.
Nevertheless, whether or not this was intended, here it is.
Mr. CEG then tells not to worry, that God will avenge the good Christians at the second coming.
Is he also going to cure their PTSD? Because these people are going to have it by the shitload.
There’s more footage of PrisonerLady, with blood streaming down her face (and no doubt other body parts as well, shudder) praying. For a solid minute or two she just repeats, “do you see me? Do you hear me?” This goes on for like a solid 3 minutes. Which again, probably realistic, but not good story telling.
Seriously, all the women do in this movie is whine and cry. Meanwhile, the Christian man is out and about doing things with his daughter. I’m sure the directors didn’t mean for this stark contrast to portray all women as whiny little do nothings while the man actually does something…
Mr. CEG comes on to talk. I’m done caring about him. He talks more about the time of trouble. Yawn.
Aaaaaand we’re back to the Whingeing Women in the cave!
Snowflake Hat comes over to a woman, who asks her what makes her so strong. Snowflake Hat denies being strong, because Jeebus.
Ok seriously, why are these women just sitting around in a cave? You could argue that God will magically provide them with food and water, but even so, there should be plenty of work for the women to do. They could dig a latrine, they could clear out some of those rocks. They could find work to do and stay busy. Staying busy is important in such situations because if all you do is sit around and whine and cry and panic, that is ridiculously unhealthy. Staying busy would also keep you from doing irrational things.
In fact, a God with half a brain wouldn’t magically provide the Whingeing Women with food and water because he’d know that they’d need to go out and get it themselves in order to stay busy.
Keeping themselves busy would also put these women in a better mood. They keep snapping at each other. One of the women wonders why they survived when so many others are….
Asian Girl1: Dead? Just say it? What’s wrong with you people!
I’ve been wondering the same thing all the damn movie.
Asian Girl 1: Get real would you?!
Another woman, Asian Girl2, points out that Asian Girl 1 has no idea who’s dead vs who’s alive.
I will say AsianGirl2 has a point. They don’t know, and in a way that’s worse.
AsianGirl1: We all saw it with our own eyes! The bomb fell, and everything was wiped out…..even if anyone survived, the radiation would have got them anyway.
The women start crying again as they talk about how, on top of everything else, a nuclear bomb was set off.
Wait. These women saw the bomb explode. They were close enough not only to watch it explode but to know that “it wiped out everything.” And they’re not suffering even minor side affects like, I dunno, radiation poisoning?
I’m calling bullshit.
Asian Girl 2: I’m going back at daybreak!
This. This right here is why you need to give these women something to do besides sit around and wish they had some cheese to go with their wine.
AsianGirl 2 whines about how she told her husband she’d wait for him, but when the bombs dropped, she just ran away. We then cut to some footage of AsianGirl2 jumping up and down (she is not running) in front of a greenscreen displaying fire.
And I’m sorry, but if that fire is supposed to somehow represent a nuclear bomb, then that girl should have already been dead.
In any case, no one can fault her for being upset about this, and even though it makes no frickin’ sense whatsoever for her to want to go back to look for her husband, I think this is realistic. Humans are not always rational beings, and sometimes we do stupid things like go back to radioactive wastelands to look for people we love.
I’ve already mentioned reasons I think these women should do something besides sit around and whinge. I’m going to add another: If you make a person feel like they are an essential part of the team, that they are vital to the wellbeing of the group, they’re less likely to run off and do something foolish.
Token White Guy ™ walks up and listens to this conversation. He is tossing a small ball (rock?) back and forth. He does not look happy.
AsianGirl1: You’re all unbelievable!
Oh my god, preach it girl!
There’s more whining from the women about all the people who they left behind. They’re whining and whining and whining and I can’t take it anymore and neither can Token White Guy.
Token White Guy: Just shut up would you! Everyone just shut up!
Oh my god THANK YOU!
you’re all a bunch of religious fanatics! How did I end up here with you? I never said I was Christian
Flashback to Token White Guy playing pool. A bottle of beer is clearly visible in the background. I’m not sure about the pool game, but a beer bottle DEFINITELY is meant to scream LOST HEATHEN to the audience. I doubt the Australian conference is liberal enough to allow beer.
Token White Guy(continuing): What’ good’s it done any of you? I only came here because there was nowhere else to go. But what’s the point….listening to all you worrying about God? I’m outta here.
So Token White Guy leaves. No one tries to stop him. Every other time someone’s tried to leave, someone begs them to stay. Not so with Token White Guy.
Summer: He is one of the few who actually made sense lol. I was SO TIRED of these women by the time the movie was done
Right! We’re probably not supposed to sit here and nod along in agreement with TWG, but…. I’m sitting here nodding along in agreement with TWG. Because he has a point. All these women have done is sit around crying and whining. And contrary to what TWG says, they haven’t just been whining about God. They’ve been sitting around whingeing about all they’ve been through. Now granted, some of this is normal. Some of this is healthy. But these women are taking it to an unhealthy extreme.
Token White Guy is fed up with all the whining, and he’s not taking it anymore. He doesn’t know where else he’ll go, but he’s going. These Whingeing Women are bringing down group morale, which is all TWG has left.
Yanno, when you’re Designated Lost Person makes more sense than all of your Christian characters put together and multiplied, you need to rethink your movie.
Mr. CEG cuts in to tell us about all the people who will be lost.
We then get a pointless scene of the guard holding out a bible to PrisonerLady, who reaches for it like a dehydrated person reaches for a glass of water. Then the guard snatches it away from her. This causes PrisonerLady to scream really loudly, as if she were being attacked. Bit of an overreaction, don’t you think? Disappointment would be ok to show, but this? This just makes it look like the woman has some sort of mental problems that cause her to overreact to anything.
Summer: Why didn’t the woman in the prison cell know that the “mean guard” (this whole storyline was just so terrible that I really can’t, but I digress) was going to hit her hand if she tried to take that Bible? Just because someone doesn’t hit you doesn’t make them the “nice guy who is going to bring you a Bible.”
Me: I’m pretty sure he has brutalized her at some point, but you’re right. She should have seen this coming.
I’m guessing this means that movie is made to appeal more to mainstream Christians? Because Adventists don’t believe that the Bible itself will be banned, just their interpretation of it. So why the thing with the guard tantalizing the woman with the Bible? It makes no sense.
After this we cut to another scene with the greenscreen, this time people wearing white robes are surrounded by clouds. I’m Faceblind, so if I’m supposed to recognize these characters from elsewhere in the movie, it’s not something I’m picking up on.
The angels talk about how they are always walking among the humans, etc. Basic stuff Christians believe about angels. Then the people each take turns saying: “Remember, I was there.”
The blonde one has the smuggest look ever on her face the entire time.
We cut back to PrisonerLady. She finds a Bible under her pillow. She bursts into tears and moans. It seems more sexual than it’s meant to, and this time I’m definitely sure it wasn’t intended.
Back to the Whingeing Women in the cave.
AsianGirl1: You guys are a bunch of idiots! We can’t stay here! There’s no food, there’s no water, no nothing!
AsianGirl1 has a point. How long have they been in that cave? Months? How have they survived? Humans can go no more than 3 days without water. They’re in a cool dark cave, so I’ll be generous and give them a 4th day. After that? You’re dead.
I’m also going to point out that the women don’t know there’s no water source nearby, because no one has bothered to try and look for it. In fact, you can add that to the list of things these women should be doing instead of sitting around and whingeing.
Seriously, if these women took any initiative at all, there would at least be something. If sitting around reading the Bible is that important, you can read your precious Bible out loud while your partner digs to find groundwater, and then switch off when she gets tired of digging.
But then we’d have a story of women actually doing stuff. Can’t have that. Only the men in this story do stuff.
More whingeing. More of Snowflake Hat talking about God. More Whingeing. Isn’t there some Bible verse about not whining too much? If there isn’t, there should be.
AsianGirl1: I’ve had enough. I’m leaving.
Another woman, Brown Braid, tries to stop AsianGirl1 from leaving. She says that if she leaves, the Rebels will get her and if they don’t, the radiation will.
Ok, but, if the rebels don’t know she’s a Christian, they won’t get her. Also, she didn’t say she was going back to the city this time, just that she was leaving. And why did you stop her instead of TWG? Poor Token White Guy, no one cares about him.
AsianGirl1 shouts that these women are a bunch of crazy people.
Woman: God is real! Ok! You may be feeling lost or guilty, but that doesn’t make him any less real!
This particular woman sounds like a kid who is blatantly asserting something she does not know to be true. After she says AsianGirl1 may be feeling guilty, AsianGirl1 has a very confused look on her face. Like, no, I don’t feel guilty you cunt, fuck off.
Asiangirl1 begs her sister to “leave these fools and survive.”
And it’s not a good sign that I’m nodding along in agreement. These women are not foolish for believing in God.* What they are foolish for is sitting around for months on end not doing ANYTHING to help themselves!
God may be reaching out the hand to help, but you have to reach out and grab God’s helping hand. Sometimes the Lord helps those who help themselves. You want your God to help you find water? Go out there and look for it!
AsianGirl1 leaves. White Hoodie gets up to follow her.
“I left the chickens at the farm a long time ago and I refuse to die with a bunch of chickens today!”
White Hoodie has a point. These women have been cowering in a cave for apparently months, while not doing anything. White Hoodie doesn’t want to sit around waiting to die, and I can respect that.
People beg her not to leave. One woman, crying, tells White Hoodie that there is a heaven, but there’s also a hell.
White Hoodie says it’s all just a story. I can’t help but wonder if she really doesn’t believe, or if she’s just tired of the way these Christians just sit around and whine all day. Because I’ll be honest, these women have not made Christianity sound appealing.
Mr. CEG talks, but he’s not saying anything particularly important. He hasn’t been in a while.
Mr. CEG: The Lord allows conflicts because they will help prepare for peace.
So, is PTSD not a thing in this universe? Because that’s what conflicts like these cause. It is the exact opposite of peace.
Set that aside. These women are not using the conflicts around them to help them grow and become better people. They’re using it as an excuse to sit around and whine.
Oh great, now this movie’s a musical. PrisonerLady is singing “Abide With Me.” It seriously looks like she’s singing out of a hymnal. She’s a decent singer, I think. But it’s kinda long and kinda pointless and could be cut.
Actually, I take it back. This is one of like, 2 incidences where this movie shows rather than tells. It’s showing a woman taking comfort from singing instead of having Mr. CEG tell us about it. It’s a low bar to clear, but sure, I’ll give it to them. Leave the scene in.
As if on cue, Mr. CEG comes on to talk about it. It’s boring and pointless and we are skipping it.
We cut back to the man and his daughter. Remember them? They were fleeing the city because it was dangerous. In any case, they’re walking along a nice well groomed trail on a hill when the daughter asks where her mother is. The dad tells her “Mommy is sleeping.”
Seriously? I get the desire to protect your child, and I get that SDAs view death as a sleep. But this is still absolutely not the right way to handle it. Small children don’t understand. Small children (and even adults, actually) need to hear the words, “Mommy is dead.” Shoot, this father even has an advantage! He doesn’t have to tell his daughter “we’ll see her sometime in the future when we all get to heaven.” He knows that the world is ending right now! All he has to do is tell his daughter that Jesus is coming within the week, and he’ll be right.
Child: Can you just wake her up?
Because from her point of view, this is a logical question.
Summer: That was the most realistic this child has said.
Me: Completely agree.
The father does say he can’t wake mommy up till Jesus comes. I get that SDAs view death as a sleep, but this is still a little less than honest. Mainstream Christians, who don’t see death as a sleep at all, are going to think this is very dishonest.
After Mr. CEG talks about the end times some more, PrisonerLady is being taunted by the guard. He calls her a pathetic little….and then pauses, like the actor suddenly realized he’s in a Christian film that doesn’t allow for profanity.
“Pathetic little…. Christian!“
He then tells her she will die tonight. Honestly, PrisonerLady should be grateful. All she has to do is confess and repent of all she can think of and go safely to sleep secure in the knowledge that her suffering is over and she’s saved for all eternity.
At least, according to her beliefs.
Mr. CEG then tells us that sometimes people will try and kill Christians before the death decree officially goes out, but God’s going to stop the bad guys from killing any Christians.
So, God is going to prevent these people from ending PrisonerLadys’ suffering. Does God not know there are worse things than death? What a dick.
We next cut to the Whingeing Women in the cave. Soldiers with guns are entering the cave. Finally. I’ve been rooting for this to happen all movie. Put these damn whiny ass babies out of their stupid misery.
One of the soldiers shouts, “there they are!” and points his gun.
The soldier standing next to him shouts, “put that down!” and knocks the gun out of his buddy’s hands. “I am not shooting unarmed Christians!” He shouts. He tries to warn the Whining Women to run, but then his soldier friends start shooting. They shoot him, too. He dies.
Wait a second….. Go back to him. Is he saved, then, or has probation already closed? Is God saving Good Soldier Dude anyway, knowing that he’s a decent human being who tries to save everyone, in the end? Are they trying to show that atheists are good people too but God doesn’t care? Are they trying to show us that this man may not have known it, but he was absolutely a Christian?
And why did Soldier Dude do it? Did he have a crisis of conscience as he was persecuting Christians, like Saul did, or has he been sympathetic to Christians all along?
These are the questions I need answers to dammit, you can’t just bring this stuff up and then not go there.
I mean, to be fair, perhaps they intend to bring this up in the sequel, but I’ll put $10 on the fact that it’s forgotten.
In any case, the whining women flee as bullets go off. The bullets don’t seem to hit any of them, though.
So, since no Christians are allowed to die, but Brave Soldier Dude died, does that mean that Brave Soldier Dude totally missed the boat on being saved even though he is clearly a better person than the Whining Women? I mean, at least Brave Soldier Dude did something to try and help someone. (The fact that it was too little too late is entirely beside the point.) The only woman so far who’s done that has been Snowflake Hat, but that happened offscreen, so it barely counts.
We are then showed CGI footage of a bomb exploding and fire spreading throughout a Generic CGI City. Dramatic music plays in the background. We see a white Light.
Jesus has come, movie’s over, the end. The words “To be continued” flash across the screen.
Wait, what? They ended the movie there? Why? There’s nothing left to show. At least during this movie you had the potential for an interesting story. What kind of story are you going to have when your characters are in a perfect heaven with a perfect God? Not a very interesting one, which is why most end times novels end with the second coming.
In any case, the director of the film then talks about how they want the sequel to take place after the second coming. In fact, part 2 is the movie they actually wanted to make, but they felt that they needed to make this one first, so that we could contrast the brilliance of heaven with the awfulness of the Tribulation.
You know what? I bet that’s why this movie suffers. Because it wasn’t the movie they wanted to make. Their hearts weren’t in it.
In order to make this 2nd film, they need $10,000. They apparently need it in ten days. Director Lady then asks for donations.
Why do they only have to do it in ten days? This is not explained.
As an afterthought, I decided to see if they’d reached their goal. Here’s their GoFundMe:
So, they didn’t make it. They didn’t even get close.
In case anyone from the film company is reading and wondering if there’s anything you can do to make your film better,** the answer is yes. You do not need a ridiculously large budget to make a good film. What you do need are a decent script, good characterization, and halfway decent actors.
The script needs a complete re-write. You can keep some of the scenes from the Whingeing Women in the cave, but most of it definitely needs to be cut, as does every single scene with Mr. CEG. He is not needed, and his presence in the film jerks people out of the story.
This next bit of advice isn’t going to seem like it makes sense coming out of my mouth, but here it is: make it more distinctly Adventist. Like it or not, you are a low budget film company who’s not very well known. If you try to appeal to mainstream Christians, you’re not going to succeed because most Christians these days are expecting quality films. And right now, you don’t have that.
The End Times according to Seventh Day Adventists is rife with good material for a story. You’ve got a lot to work with here, but you cut most of it out in order to appeal to mainstream Christians. This not only turned your SDA audience completely off, it weakened your story. Make your story more distinctly Adventist, and then you will at least have more Adventists backing you. Your Adventist audience wants you to succeed. Heck, I want you to succeed, and I don’t even like you.
I would also advise you to see what you can do to hire real actors. They don’t need to be big name stars like Nicholas Cage, but do what Tell The World did and hire D-list actors nobody has heard of. Granted the actors on Tell The World are not great actors, but they’re decent. They’re better than what you have now.
I would also advise you to put half the characters on the chopping block. Cut the number of Cave Women down to MAYBE 4, but preferably just 2 or 3. You have too many characters to develop and not enough time to develop all them, so cutting them out of the film entirely is a good choice. This would give you more room to develop some of the existing characters who frankly seemed more interesting and got virtually no attention from the plot. Focus less on the Whingeing Women and more on the man and his daughter. Or at least even out the balance between the man and his daughter and the Whingeing Women.
Good character development will cover a world of sins. I can forgive a movie for bad acting if the script and characterization are otherwise solid.
Then you need to give the Whingeing Women something to do besides sit around and whine. Even if all you can think of for them to do is run around in circles all day, have them do that. But preferably have them doing something to make their surroundings more comfortable, at the very least. Maybe show them being compassionate to refugees fleeing the war torn cities. Presumably that’s what happened with Token White Guy, but if so, that happened offscreen. Why did Token White Guy choose to join the women in the cave? Show us. Don’t tell.
You should also hire a Designated Heathen to watch your movie. This needs to be done because you clearly have all kinds of sexual tension that I don’t think you intend to be there at all. A Designated Heathen(tm) will pick up on that and have no problem with telling you how it is.
Honestly, I think you have a lot of potential to make a good movie. I would see this as a first draft, a rough draft. Learn from your mistakes, and begin again.
*Well, maybe they are, but set that aside. Their religion itself is not, in this case, the main problem.
**Just kidding, you think I’m an evil heathen who wants to tear down Christianity and you’re gonna pray for me. No doubt you are resenting me for seeing your movie as anything less than the work of God Himself. You probably feel quite attacked. You probably feel like I’m somehow an agent of Satan attacking you. I assure you, I do not work for the devil.