Let’s start with a disclaimer; that’s always a good way to start. I thought “War Room” was the worst Kendrick Brother’s film yet. I know many times we fault the actors for the low quality of a film, but in this case it was not their fault entirely. There is only so much an actor can do to salvage a poor script and an awkward scene situation. This in mind, I will open this review in a more uniform manner.
Christian film is characterized by great concepts, lousy performance. That’s just the way it is and has been since the genre began. It is rare to find a truly spectacular Christian film nowadays.
Now, understand that every film has something that can be said against it. No director or producer is perfect and in some way, all films have their shortcomings and weak areas. These weak areas are amplified by the low budgets of Christian films, but are in many ways similar to the failings of your average Hollywood Blockbuster.
Now, down to the topic: “War Room”. Over the years, we have seen the talent and potential for film making of the Kendrick Brothers and Sherwood Pictures; and, in the grand tradition of their other films, this film is centered around a concept and moral, but not a story. In “Facing the Giants”, the focus was on God dictating our decisions. In “Fireproof”, the focus was on marriage and how to resolve conflict God’s way. In “Courageous”, the focus was on parenting, providing the Godly rearing for a child. Now, in “War Room”, the focus is on prayer life.
Every good story has a good moral, but not every good moral makes a good story.
Not every moral will make a good story, it’s true. The Kendrick brothers shape their stories after the basic concepts I listed above: this is bad film making. When shaping a book or a movie, the story comes first, not the moral. The moral is a piece of the story, which is the big picture. A moral and concept is less significant than the entire story, this it cannot be the apex of the movies focus.
In “Flywheel” alone, (their first film), out of all the films they have done did they center the movie around a story rather than a concept. Everything about their first film was characterized by story, not moral.
We have established the cause of the movie’s major failing, now to the technical side of things.
Sadly, I can’t say that The Kendrick brothers ever had any excellent acting in any of their films. Notice that I said acting not actors. I don’t believe that the actors themselves are inherently bad actors or actresses, but put in the situations and paired with the supporting actors as they are, it is difficult for them to truly shine. Even with this in mind, I thought the acting in “Courageous” was better than the acting in “War Room”. Acting being thus sub-par, it earns a sub-par rating.
Acting = 4 of 10
Here’s where I grade nearly every other aspect of the film, I decided against delineating every area of this film into a different subgroup. Having already listed my grievances with the story, concept, and acting, there isn’t much left to talk about, except the merchandising.
With movies like “War Room”, “God’s Not Dead”, and “Fireproof” it seems everything is about marketing and merchandising. The film makers find a marketable idea and they run with it, making and publicizing a movie with a good message, but then employing ploys to get people to buy a product based upon the movie. I hate film merchandising especially when the film itself has a great message. It seems like the film makers were only interested in selling products. That may not be what is intended in most cases, but that is how it seems.
As an inspirational movie, this film is great. Support the Kendrick Brothers and their mission and message. But, I do have to say that it doesn’t seem like they are moving forward; if anything, I’d say that this film is a step back from “Courageous”. However, it is a Christian film, and these film makers are serving Christ in the way that they do best.
As always, thanks for reading.
—the anonymous novelist