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Posts Tagged ‘conviction’

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2:1 ESV)

This past week, my wife and I were finally able to check out “Conviction,” a movie that came out in the fall and is now out on DVD, starring Hilary Swank (Amelia, Million Dollar Baby) and Sam Rockwell (awesome in Iron Man 2). I’m not sure why I waited so long to give this movie a shot, but I was not disappointed. This film would have made my top 7 for 2010 had I seen it when it came out. Why? Betty Anne Waters’ single-mindedness and unrelenting fight for her brother brought out a neglected piece of the gospel for me.

Single-Mindedness

Betty sacrifices everything for her brother in this movie. He gets convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison and Betty works over 18 years to get him released and to prove his innocence. She burns down her marriage, does not prioritize her boys, views her money as completely expendable, and counts her own life as practically nothing. Is this a good example? Probably not, even if her husband should have been more supportive, but it’s not like she makes these choices for her own good. Getting her brother out of prison becomes the main idol in her life and everything else gives way. I didn’t like what she sacrificed but the example is pretty amazing and causes me to question what I would do that for. Would I yield anything for Jesus? What would I move hell and high water for? Most of time: my own comfort, not for others.

Advocate

Critics hammered this movie saying it’s move manipulative and not as compelling as it should have been but I disagree. The emotion, honestly, is not nearly as powerful as it should be. The truth is unbelievable. I think critics just can’t comprehend that this story is actually true.

Betty’s brother, Kenny (Rockwell), is not a good guy. He is a wild card and prone to anger and impulsiveness. The film tries to give some background on this in showing their upbringing, but it doesn’t change the fact that Kenny is not exactly someone you’d be quick to stand up for. It doesn’t matter. Betty is so vehemently for him that when anyone even remotely questions his innocence she boils to a rage and with many colorful words defends him and kicks them out of her presence, even if that person questioning his innocence is her one and only friend. She fights for him way beyond what he deserves. She gives up a huge chunk of her own life just working for his release. She will do anything to find his innocence and get him out. She stands up for him even when he starts giving up. She is unstoppable. About midway through the movie, I agreed with her husband and her kids, I was practically annoyed with how she didn’t care about anything else. Yes, it’s an injustice, but move on, there’s nothing you can do! Give up! Of course, she doesn’t. By the end, however, her heart and efforts crushed me. She was her brother’s living advocate and defense even when nobody else cared.

That is exactly what Jesus is for us. Even now, he lives to be our defense and advocate. He fights for us. He will not hear a bad word about his children. He rebukes Satan’s accusations about us. Are we deserving? Are we worthy of such an advocate? Not in the least. Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers and he stands up for us in spite of our worst sin and crimes. I think I forget this a lot. I know I’m forgiven but do I trust in Jesus as my risen and active advocate? Jesus is not dead anymore but risen. One of my pastors was extremely helpful in walking through the importance of that this past Sunday. He is risen and he lives to intercede for us.

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?”

Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD was standing by. (Zechariah 3:1-5 ESV)

Conviction is worth watching for the build to the climax and emotional ending. Let yourself be “manipulated” by this film and then realize that Jesus is all that and more for you if you would let him. The language is pretty foul, very raw and fitting, but very consistent and harsh throughout – be aware and stay away if you’re sensitive to this.

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The January and February crop of releases includes a number that I would like to see but only one that I’ve actually viewed.

The Social Network (January 11)

This movie about the founders of Facebook currently has a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 97%. This looks like a well-made film, rated PG-13. Here is Ebert’s review.

UPDATE: I thought this was just ok.  It definitely does not hedge on demonstrating the depravity of man. Timberlake and Jesse Eisenberg really are tremendous.

Freakonomics (January 18)

This is the documentary based on the book and blog by Stephen Levitt and Stephen Dubner. I loved the first book, thought the second was so-so, and enjoy their blog so I’ve been looking forward to seeing this.

Secretariat (January 25)

From the previews, this film looks like “Seabiscuit 2: Extra Cheese” but the reviews have actually been solid and it is a pretty amazing true story about a horse winning the Triple Crown (of which there have only been 3 in the last 60 years).

Conviction (February 1)

This movie looks like a great story and is rated R for violence and language.

Update 5/5/11

Powerful film. Watch it. Very bad language but very fitting. Read my full review here: Conviction: Who is My Advocate?

Waiting for “Superman” (February 15)

I’m already not a fan of the public school system, and the director of this film doesn’t seem to be either. It’s sure to be a bit manipulative in and how the stories of these kids are told but likely a very true indictment.

Update 5/5/11

Wow. Very well done documentary with very effective arguments. It only served to encourage us in our homeschooling but you ache for those kids who have no choice. Not the greatest film to watch if you’re a member of the teacher’s union!

UPDATE (2/1/11)

Unstoppable (February 15)

This was one of those late entries into the DVD releases. Unstoppable was a fun movie, not overacted by Pine, Denzel, or Rosario Dawson. It’s pretty predictable like any action flick but I enjoyed the 2 main characters and the back stories that give them at least a little depth. After seeing this film, I wanted to park an old car or camper on the train tracks behind our house and watch a train  just destroy it! (staged, of course, with their consent!) When you watch this movie, you have to think about why you like it, especially the ending: men sacrificing for the sake of others, coming through when things are stacked against them.

Get Low (February 22)

This was #3 on my top movies of 2010 and I wrote a review of it here. This is a fantastic movie; don’t hesitate to give it a view.

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