After the abduction and presumed death of Mackenzie Allen Phillips' youngest daughter, Missy, Mack receives a letter and suspects it is from God, asking him to return to The Shack where Missy may have been murdered. After contemplating it, he leaves his home to go to The Shack for the first time since Missy's abduction and an encounter that will change his life forever.
The entire movie, God is portrayed from a Christian point of view (Jesus, etc...). The prayers at Missy's funeral toward the end that can be heard in the background are the ones recited at Jewish funerals and have no connection to Christianity whatsoever. See more »
When you focus on pain, you lose sight of me.
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The film started well, but something about it was instantly concerning. It was like a re- enactment from a TV crime show, and not actually telling a story, and unfortunately the beginning was the best part. The more you get into the film, you realize why this was the case. They were just setting you up for rant about religion, and how god is all knowing and blameless. It reminded me of all the poor suckers that got conned into a secret engagement with a friend, only to find out they were selling Amway products. That's how it felt, I was duped into thinking I was getting a movie, I wasn't, it was a ridiculous religious fantasy film, but it pretended to be about a father coming to grips with the loss of his kidnapped and murdered daughter.
There are too many flashbacks, to the point where you often can't remember when the last bump on the head actually goes back to. Sam Worthington as the father was very one dimensional, very sullen and melancholy throughout the entire film, right up until the very end where he experiences his religious awakening. His accent often changed from American to Australian quite regularly too I might add. The film covers ground from when he was a boy and treated badly by his father, then onto him as a father with his own kids. He takes them on a camping trip, when disaster strikes and one of his kids fall off the canoe and gets trapped underneath. While he is frantically trying to save one son, his daughter is abducted by a felon, apparently well known to local police. There isn't a lot of detail given about the actual specifics of the crime, it is pretty much brushed over. It is merely a tool to alert us as an audience that there are intense levels of sadness, confusion and life questioning situations to come.
Time passes, there's some confusing interactions with a neighbour, his own father. One day he borrows the neighbor's 4WD to go back to the 'Shack' where his little girl's clothes were originally located after the abduction. Things go weird here. He gets to the shack, or so we believe, and somehow gets knocked unconscious. But what we see is 'Mack' transported to another world where he meets several people that represent the likeness of god. The dialogue is all about him being angry at god about the loss of his child, but in the film, god never really satisfies the viewer with a shred of a decent answer, just merely shallow propositions you might hear from any experienced politician dodging the real issues. Not to mention the fact that the bible itself makes everyone blameless for almost anything once they ask for god's forgiveness, because god loves all, even the murderers. Mack is s'posed to learn to forgive, and we see Mack learning to forgive for the next hour, literally, it's painful to watch. He is even asked to choose between his own kids, just as god chooses, asking if he should send one to hell, and one to heaven, it makes little sense because his kids had done nothing wrong, unlike his daughters killer. God then questions whether Mack has the right to judge the killer, or maybe the killers father, or that father etc etc, the question being, how far back do you go? God is blameless among all this because it is evil doing this, it isn't god, and god can't choose what is right, and whether or not to intervene. There are no answers in this film, not even in a playfully interesting way, it's a frustrating dialogue to listen to for that long.
I'm not really a religious person, I don't mind the odd Christian feel good movie, I liked 'Highway To Heaven', but this was too much and badly done, was not very entertaining, and left me questioning why an actor from a great film like 'Avatar' would consider putting his hand up for this rubbish. Maybe things are real tight in Hollywood at the moment. I could go on about how crap this film was in many other areas, but I think you get the picture. Could do a lot of damage to Worthington's career, its showcased just how bland he can be.
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