UK Release Date: 11th April 2014
Runtime: 113 minutes
Director: Harold Cronk
Writer: Chuck Konzelman, Cary Solomon
Starring: Kevin Sorbo, Shane Harper, Dean Cain, David AR White, Trisha LaFache, Cassidy Gifford
Synopsis: A Christian student is forced to defend his faith in front of his whole class and his devoutly Atheist professor.
God’s Not Dead is one of those odd instances in which an incredibly televisual movie sneaks into cinemas for a couple of showings a week. It’s doubly odd in that it is a shamelessly evangelical movie about the benefits of Christianity, in which anyone without faith is a horrible person. That said, most of the Christians are pretty repugnant as well.
Josh Wheaton (Shane Harper) is a devout Christian who enrols into a Philosophy class taught by Professor Radisson (Kevin Sorbo), who makes his Atheism clear from the first moment. Radisson asks his class to admit that “god is dead” before beginning his teaching. When Josh refuses, the two clash in a series of heated discussions.
God’s Not Dead is a film that should never have been in cinemas. That much is obvious from its TV movie sheen and acting that makes Adam Sandler look like Laurence Olivier. Less obvious in the early stages is that this is one of the most offensive films that has hit the big screen in 2014.
| "Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn’t want them turning to God."
It would be easy to accuse the film of Christian bias, but that ignores the true scale of its loathsome opinion of people. Atheists are horrible to Christians. Christians are horrible to Atheists. Men are horrible to women. Women are horrible to men. Healthy people are horrible to ill people. Ill people are horrible to healthy people.
For a film so keen to paint itself as a feel-good film for those with faith, God’s Not Dead seems worryingly sure that every human being on Earth is utterly terrible. Kevin Sorbo’s lecturer is utterly hateful and there’s a plot about a traditional Muslim father and his Jesus-following daughter that has an unpleasant whiff of racism about it.
At least God’s Not Dead offends everyone equally. It doesn’t discriminate. The only character who comes off unscathed is David AR White’s priest, who spends most of the movie wrapped in an aimless and chronically unamusing “comedy” sub-plot about Disneyland and unreliable rental cars.
| "Only a real risk can test the reality of a belief."
By the time the film rattles to its crass conclusion – complete with a redemptive car accident – it has systematically torn apart everything joyful in the world. A rousing Christian rock gig, populated exclusively by beautiful people, isn’t enough to save the thing.
God might not be dead, but the audience probably wish they were.
Pop or Poop?
If you’re not into religion, God’s Not Dead definitely isn’t going to convert you. But if you are a religious believer, it might just shake your faith.
It’s a film that makes me hope against hope that God isn’t real. I wouldn’t want him to see this.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.