Genre : Drama
Country : USA
Kate Mara : Ashley Smith
David Oyelowo : Brian Nichols
Director : Jerry Jameson
“Every time I do it I think : “This is the last time. I can control this.”
And I do it again and again and again.
I just can’t… I just can’t stop.
I like it too much.”
The transformation Brian Nichols (David Oyelowo) undergoes, is irrefutable miraculous. He’s a convicted criminal who manages to violently escape out of a courthouse, where he was waiting for his conviction after allegedly raping his girlfriend. During this escape he murders a number of people in cold blood, including the judge. This is the beginning of a major manhunt, initiated by the police departments in Atlanta. Until he bumps into Ashley Smith (Kate Mara), a young woman who is trying to kick the habit of using Crystal Meth, and takes her hostage in her own apartment. And thus the miracle happens. The reading of the bestseller “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren brings Brian to repentance. Hallelujah.
I don’t want to detract from what actual happened and how the offender Brian, by hearing positive messages and a religious inspired guidance, managed to get his act together so his humane and kind side could take over again. And this despite the fact that his life is a complete mess and there isn’t a bright future awaiting him. From my own experience I know that resorting to the basic elements of a balanced life is lifesaving. And it doesn’t matter this is accomplished by listening to a learned person or a soul mate. Or by reading appropriate literature. 5 Years ago I found myself with my back against the wall. By adjusting my philosophy of life, rearranging my priorities and fighting daily against what would be my downfall, my life has changed radically. Yes it”s something wonderful and miraculous, but no need to make a film about it.
That’s my feeling about this film. The message in this film contains a wonderful thing and is unique. The fact that it’s possible for an individual to give meaning to his life. That applies to both Brian and Ashley. Ashley sees how her life slowly derails. Her husband murdered because of her drug addiction. And her daughter taken away from her because of her disability to be a caring mother. And Brian seeing another opportunity to meet his newborn son sometime in the future. That this happened again by the hands of the Almighty God, of course will please the religious community in our society. Therefor this film is ideal as an educational film for an ecumenical community or a religious tinted television channel.
The only thing I found inappropriate, was the ending showing Ashley Smith in person during an Oprah talk show where she tells her story and promotes the book that saved her live and at the same time that of the abductor. The moment the author of the acclaimed book walks into the studio, I was overtaken by a sickening feeling. The entire film was suddenly reduced to nothing more than a teleshopping program. I’m sure there are people whose life drastically changed after reading this book. But I can imagine there are thousands of people who experienced a drastic change of life thanks to another inspiring book. Lets hope they won’t turn every such experience into a movie ….