“War Room” A Call For Christians To Pray

war roomFrom the creators of “Facing the Giants,” “Fireproof” and“Courageous” comes “War Room,” the newest film in the line of productions by the Kendrick Brothers. The story begins with sagacious narration by Miss Clara (Karen Abercrombie), which  sets  up the entire premise and tone of the movie — that every battle needs a  strategy, and victories do not come by accident. We are then introduced to Tony (T.C. Stallings) and Elizabeth (Priscilla Shirer) Jordan, the poster family for the American dream, or so it seems. Despite great jobs, fancy cars, a dream house and a beautiful daughter, the Jordan family is engaged in an epic spiritual battle where everything they have lived for is on the line. As their marriage crumbles and all hope seems lost, Elizabeth finds help in an unexpected way. Miss Clara challenges Elizabeth to establish a “war room,” and she begins to teach Elizabeth how to fight for her family the right way and with the most powerful weapon we have: prayer.

Highlights

For starters, I think it is safe to say that “War Room” is the best Kendrick Brother film to date! It is the best directed and best acted of the Kendrick productions. I am definitely a fan of what the brothers aspire to do with film-making, and it has been a joy to watch their production quality continue to grow and mature. “In addition to entertaining and inspiring audiences,” producer Stephen Kendrick says, “our hope is “War Room” and the resources connected to this movie will be a tool to help people join together to pray for one another, our families, our communities, our nation and our leaders. Prayer draws us to God’s heart and His desires.” I think we  can  expect to see even greater things down the road as the Lord uses these two brothers to tell good stories that ultimately point back to the master story-teller.

The movie does a good job of knowing what it is and knowing its primary audience. This is not really a “seeker-sensitive” film; it is a film for Christians. It is meant to encourage and challenge fellow believers to call upon God in prayer. And if the film’s primary purpose was to make me want to pray more, then it definitely succeeded!

“This film is about the power of prayer, the necessity of prayer in our lives,” says director Alex Kendrick. “If we return to prayer, passionately and actively seeking the Lord and we’re right with Him and right with each other, God can do amazing things in our lives.” Also, the movie keeps an overall consistent tone, good pacing and does well to stick to its key themes of prayer, spiritual warfare and victory in Christ.

Karen Abercrombie lights up every scene that she is in. Her acting prowess becomes even more impressive when you learn that the actress is in reality much younger than the elderly widow she portrays on screen. She is a delight to watch, and her chemistry with Priscilla Shirer gives the audience several captivating scenes balanced with humor, wit and raw emotion.

Suggestions

My main complaint is that the film is simply too long. With a  running time around the two hour mark, the scenes and dialogue begin to feel a little bloated. Now it is okay to have a longer movie if you have a story to tell that requires it. But unfortunately, as the narrative stood, “War Room” just did  not  need to be so long. The story revolves completely around one family, and nearly all of the scenes involve the female lead.

I would have really liked to see the theme of prayer explored more thoroughly with a woven multi-faceted plot. Along with the Jordan family, we could have seen prayer at work in the  lives of other families dealing with different issues. Perhaps we could even see how a believer handles life when God  does  not answer a prayer the way they wanted. Breaking up the main narrative and showing these other scenarios would help to  keep the audience engaged. Then we could see prayer not just in reconciliation, but also in healing, provision and protection. And because the film stuck  to just one story about marital issues, it tended to feel like another adaptation of “Fireproof.” The story just needed something more to distinguish itself from the “other” marriage film.

Looking toward future projects, I would recommend that the Kendrick’s experiment a bit more with the aesthetic side of film-making. The Kendricks are creative enough as story-tellers, but often their films lack the soundtrack and cinematography to back it up. The music, for example, needs to be more than just the most recent Christian pop-song.

Lastly, an observation: the Kendrick’s seem to diverge from the orthodox plot arc with a simple rising and falling action. Instead, we get the “Kendrick Double-Check” with at least two very distinct climatic moments.

Overall, War Room is a solid film and certainly worth taking a trip to your local theater! War Room arrives August 28 and is rated PG for thematic elements throughout. See the trailer at warroomthemovie.com

“God has us fight not human flesh and blood, but fight the war that is in the heavenlies that can only happen from our knees.” – Beth Moore

Finley is a freelance writer and doctoral candidate. He can be reached at [email protected]

 

 

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