The Gospel DVD Review
Run Time: 105 Minutes
Reviewed by Jon Minners
Iíve discovered religion. After years of mocking the spiritual side of life through my Minners Commentary Corner and other banter, a woman at work; Katrina, handed me a Bible and I started reading. Suddenly, I became hooked; suddenly my life changed and I wanted more. I started to read A Purpose Driven Life , watched movies like Woman, Thou Art Loosed and Diary of a Mad Black Woman and as soon as I heard about The Gospel, I wanted to see it.
I had flirted with religion before. I always talked to God, but more so for selfish reasons. I found myself into old movies about Moses and Jesus Christ. I jumped at the chance to see Beyonce in Fighting Temptations and made others listen to the music that made the film so great. I even reviewed Christian rappers. But now, it has more of a meaning to me and now when I go and rent a film like I did with The Gospel, it is not more out of curiosity, but more because of a thirst for knowledge, to learn more and drown myself in the lessons.
The Gospel follows David Taylor (Boris Kadjoe), the prodigal son, who along with his friend, the ďother sonĒ Charles Frank (Idris Elba), studies to be a minister under the support of Taylorís pastor father (Clifton Powell). However, when Davidís mother dies, he becomes angered with religion, wondering where God was when he prayed for him to save her. He becomes angered with his father who he blames for putting the church first and not being there when he needed them. There is most definitely a correlation there.
David leaves the church behind and goes on to become a successful R&B musician with a bit hit, Let Me Undress You, purposely titled to let the viewer know how much of a polar opposite he has become in rebelling from his past. However, Davidís life comes full circle when his father becomes ill and David must come home for the first time since his motherís death for his fatherís final days. It is his return home that forces him to truly come to grips with his past, present decisions and hopes for the future. The ďother sonĒ has taken on the role meant for the ďprodigal son,Ē but Charles Frank has lost his way, becoming the kind of evangelist you see on television and not the kind the church needs. At the same time, Taylor discovers love when he meets Rain (Tamyra Gray), a Christian woman who has made changes in her life for the better and serves as an example for Taylor that there is always hope and always time to make a change. Every character plays a vital role in the religious awakening of David Taylor and portrays a certain characteristic of a Black community and the church around it; even some of the dark sides that started with the best of intentions.
And so, everyone in the movie seems to come to that crossroads with God and thatís what I liked about this film. In the world of a Black church that plays such an intricate role in the community; that is faced with fiscal and social crisis; everyoneís true flaws begin to show and even those who seem more in touch with God than others need to find their way to God again. How each person handled their difficult situations was an uplifting experience.
Add to it the foot-stomping, head nodding, inspirational Gospel music performed by Yolanda Adams and Gray, among others (the soundtrack contains music from such luminaries like Kirk Franklin); you have a film that should take everyone on some sort of spiritual journey that will connect them with God or strengthen the connection they already have.
This film made me want to listen to more Gospel music. The Gospel made me want to continue my reading and it showed me that no matter how hard life becomes, no matter how depressed you fell and no matter how many difficult tasks you may face, nothing could ever break you; it will only make you stronger, because God never gives you more than you can handle. This is definitely a feel-good movie that I must admit is slightly flawed its characters, with some weakness in certain areas of the storyline, some issues with the dialogue here and there and some inconsistencies with the acting, but the important aspects; the music, the likeability of the characters and the message make this film one for the entire family. And thatís The Gospel according to Jon.