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  Left Behind The Crapture
Year: 2014
Director: Vic Armstrong
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Chad Michael Murray, Cassi Thomson, Nicky Whelan, Lea Thompson, Jordin Sparks, Martin Klebba, Alec Rayme, Stephanie Honoré, Georgina Rawlings, Gary Grubbs, William Ragsdale, Major Dodson, Lance E. Nichols, Lolo Jones, Kamryn Johnson
Genre: Science Fiction, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  2 (from 1 vote)
Review: Chloe Steele (Cassi Thomson) has jetted into New York to be with her airline pilot father Ray Steele (Nicolas Cage) on his birthday, and on arriving at the airport she takes a call on her phone from her mother Irene (Lea Thompson). She has bad news for Chloe, her dad will not be at home to meet her since he is working, flying off to London and ignoring his family duties, and she cannot help but feel resentment at this. So when she notices famous television journalist Buck Williams (Chad Michael Murray) a short distance away, she goes over to hear him be harangued by a Christian lady and joins in the argument that no merciful God would allow the vast scale of disasters that afflict humanity every year. Yes, she's pretty sure of herself is Chloe...

How about a Rapture to shake her up? There was one on the way in this reboot of the straight to video adaptations of the Left Behind series of novels which were popular with Christians who liked their fictional violence with a heavy dose of piety, so why was the franchise making a return when it did? There was something in the air by this time, or rather something in the bank balance as producers found they could make a profit by appealing to the religious with entertainment sympathetic to their beliefs, and before long a bunch of lower budgeted films took up the mantle of what had previously been relegated to the scaremongering of Estus W. Pirkle or later the odd "life of Christ" video instructional.

Mostly these were shown in churches to the congregation, but come the likes of Left Behind mark 2 they actually escaped into cinemas, to be greeted with wildly variable amounts of success. Oddly, the picture that appeared to have kicked this off was one of the most violent films ever made, Mel Gibson's The Last Temptation of Christ, but few of what followed had those pretensions, nor the generous amount of cash to back up their visions, so what you got was a glut of films characterised by their rather persecuted view that someone had to stand up for their interpretation of Christianity since it was now under attack from athiests and alternate religions alike. Fictions like this made it possible to fantasise what would happen to the non-believers, especially if that was bad for them, thus the people in this all had flaws.

The folks not spirited away by the Rapture, that was, epitomised by the hardline Christian lady we saw at the beginning, and Lea Thompson's teary-eyed prayer addict who Chloe has a heart to heart with in the first half hour. That's right, it took half and hour for what we were all expecting to happen in the movie, after which getting rid of the holy would seem like a blessed relief since their sanctimony was apt to grate, but it was a long wait that felt longer when false drama prevailed. Those who were not whipped out of their clothes by divine powers (was heaven populated by nudists?) weren't all bad folks, necessarily, though you imagine this might not have flopped quite as badly as it did should it have depicted a bunch of villains getting what was coming to them, but they had a fatal drawback when it came to their mindset.

That was they didn't unquestioningly follow the Christian God, so it didn't matter that Chloe was decent enough, just pessimistic after seeing how her adulterous father treated her, or that you were a token nice Muslim, or even that being a midget had led you to rage against society in general, you were up shit creek and damned to live out an apocalypse simply because you didn't buy into one type of religion. And it wasn't even a type that all Christians believed in anyway, there were so many variations you wondered if there was some kind of exhaustive checklist to get into the afterlife. Such musing was a lot more interesting than sitting through Left Behind, which managed to make the end of the world tedious, supposed star Cage spending his relatively brief screen time in the cockpit of his plane and Murray taking the actual lead while Thomson wandered a community plagued with the occasional riot, but not enough to trouble the budget too much. You could accuse them of preaching to the converted, but even they would see through this moneygrabbing cynicism. Music by Jack Lenz.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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