Wednesday, February 16, 2011
The Sunset Limited
But it gets even better. The movie is basically a philosophical dialogue about the nature of belief, the meaning of life, the existence of God, the human condition, faith and science. Can you hear the laughter? Most network or studio executives probably wouldn’t have given you time to finish your pitch. More than likely, they would have called security and had you escorted from the building.
At stake is the professor’s life. He is a man who has no belief in God, people or himself and is convinced he deserves to take his own life. To say he is in a very dark place is an understatement. On the other hand, the preacher is a man with his own demons, convinced he can save the professor by sharing his encounters with God while serving hard time in prison. But the professor views death as a comfort, doesn’t want an afterlife of any sort and is content with his undoing. He says, “If I thought that in death I would meet the people I’ve known in life, I don’t know what I’d do. That would be the ultimate horror.”
Folks, television doesn’t get any better than this. Obviously, a story like this would never work without two heavyweight actors of the quality and caliber of Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones. Both drive the story, and you can expect them to be nominated for future Emmys.
The Sunset Limited is based on a play by Cormal McCarthy and is a perfect example of the kind of movies I wish Christian filmmakers would tackle. I consider The Sunset Limited to be more Christian-focused than most typical Christian movies are in the usage of Christian content.
The material is treated with intelligence and is never heavy-handed. No formula. No agenda. And yet, the grace of God shines through in this film. For those who want to make a Christian film or become a media missionary, I consider The Sunset Limited to be required viewing. I think we can all learn a thing or two about how to make a movie that talks about God in a way that actually speaks to people.