So this is what a Christian action movie looks like.
“Persecuted” is the latest Christploitation flick to hit the mainstream cinema this time about a preacher who for whatever reason finds himself at the center of a government plot to discredit him, which will somehow allow them to institute a bill that I’m thinking has something to do with making all religions equal and combining them into one. It’s actually not very clear, and to be honest not very much is in this mess of a film.
Before I have to start dissecting this though, lets start with a good thing. I want to give best thing props to the director of photography. At least you tried to mix things up a bit. There were actually a few moments here where I felt a bit of ingenuity on shot selection and process. I mean it wasn’t Gregg Toland, Citizen Kane type stuff or anything but at least you didn’t just lock off the cameras. So well done. Now if only you had something interesting to shoot.
Seriously, this is just bad all around. Even with a few decent actors, Bruce Davidson, and Dean Stockwell among them, some of these performances are just hard to watch and ridiculously melodramatic. That is of course emphasized by the fact that the music is intrusive, the plot points are meaningless, and there are these long scenes of of exposition that somehow don’t clear anything up, but just further muddle an already incomprehensible story. I mean, why is this pastor so important again, why is the government so keen on this bill, and what does it even do? Plus the religious stuff gets so heavy handed at the end that its obvious the filmmakers were out to make a statement rather than make a movie. Seriously, you want to make an action thriller? Then do it. Hire Bruce Willis for the lead, iron out the story details, and make a great flick that still gets across your message about persecution without resorting to propagandic film making. There is real persecution in this world ,of many people, including Christians, but making a movie like this only makes the issue seem silly and preposterous and short circuits any truth that might be hiding underneath. And if there is any truth in here it’s hiding very well.
When it comes right down to it, Persecuted is an awful movie with a unclear plot and a clear agenda. Any semblance of a decent message is completely obfuscated by its heavy handedness and poor execution. Only a few clever camera shots keep it at a D.