As is often the case with faith based productions, Jon Gunn’s The Case For Christ offers very little evidence to substantiate the claim it attempts to make about the existence of god, opting instead for high drama and suspense to tell a fairly forgettable story. Nevertheless, it would be foolish to dismiss the film as a whole, especially if you consider the popularity of this sub-genre amongst Christian groups. It’s clear that most UK audiences lean towards a more pragmatic approach in regards to these productions, but a look at how well films such as The Shack (Stuart Hazeldine, 2017) have been received by Christian audiences around the world is enough to convince the rest of us that the “faith movie” is here to stay.

Set in 1980, the film tells the real life story of former investigative journalist Lee Strobel’s journey from committed atheist to devout Christian, after a lengthy investigation into the death of Christ and his consequent “resurrection”. Strobel (Mike Vogel) is a doting husband and father and with a second child on the way, life is exactly how he always dreamt it would be. While out celebrating yet another career success with his expectant wife Leslie (Erika Christensen) and daughter, the child has a near death experience when she almost chokes on a piece of candy and is only saved by the quick thinking actions of  Nurse named Alfie (L. Scott Caldwell) who attributes the child’s saviour to the almighty, saying she knew she had to be at that restaurant that night.

The Case for ChristDisturbed by the previous night’s events, the next day Leslie decides to pay Alfie a visit at the hospital where she works to thank her. Soon Leslie finds herself seduced by Alfie’s church and its very modern pastor and eventually becomes a true believer. Feeling as though he is losing his wife to what he considers a crackpot belief system, Lee decides to use his investigative talents to prove to Leslie that Christianity is nothing more than a set of superstitious and outdated beliefs which he refuses to be part of.

Gunn and writer Brian Bird construct a rather flimsy storyline which doesn’t bring anything new to the debate about faith. Facts are tossed aside in favour of an overly expositional narrative and lengthy conversations. A sub-plot about a wrongly convicted criminal, which feels more like an after-thought, adds almost nothing to the story and only succeeds in making it seem a little muddled.

On the whole, the film does exactly what is expected from it, but fails to ultimately convince and is eventually let down by a poorly executed screenplay and an almost ludicrous storyline. However, while The Case For Christ may not be to everyone’s liking, it is important to realise that films like it have definitely found a gap in the market and are likely to find their audiences no matter how critics feel about them.

The Case for Christ is released on September 15th.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
The Case for Christ
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Linda Marric is a freelance film critic and interviewer. She has written extensively about film and TV over the last decade. After graduating with a degree in Film Studies from King's College London, she has worked in post-production on a number of film projects and other film related roles. She has a huge passion for intelligent Scifi movies and is never put off by the prospect of a romantic comedy. Favourite movie: Brazil.