Movie Review: Left Behind
In the year 2000, Christian actor Kirk Cameron starred in a movie called “Left Behind,” based on the runaway bestselling books by Tim LaHaye. Fourteen years later, a new version emerges on the silver screen. Below are some thoughts about the movie itself; for reflections on Left Behind and the end times, see this post.
The summary listed at the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) says this about the plot: “A small group of survivors are left behind after millions of people suddenly vanish and the world is plunged into chaos and destruction.” I know if IMDB was trying not to spoil surprises for movie goers, but that plot summary is telling, given that it can be used for many post-apocalyptic movies, not ones that are supposed to be Christian-based. In actuality, the movie follows the basic book storyline, following one family and also a TV news reporter in the wake of the sudden taking away (Rapture) of God’s people.
This “Left Behind” movie features name brand actors like Nicolas Cage, which is sure to have a larger draw that the average Christian movie. Having not read the Left Behind books, I am not able to compare how closely this movie follows the book, but its acting and movie effects exceed that of the first movie rendition.
It is safe to say, if the movie makers planned on presenting a movie that would make people stop and think about Christ’s return and the basic claims of Christ, this movie falls short. In fact, the most suspenseful moments come closer to looking like an action flick, like “Con-Air” and “Die Hard 2” (not that most Christians would recommend those movies) than an end-times drama. Moreover, the Christian characters presented seem like the air heads, while the skeptics are the level-headed folks. Though the skeptics are proven wrong, their arguments and very personalities are more winsome than the Christian ilk.
I firmly believe the Left Behind premise is fraught with doctrinal and Scriptural problems (including about how God works with Israel now and in the end times). So flaws from the books might reinforce questionable beliefs that rank-and-file Christians have about Christ’s return. In 2011, the Baptist Messenger produced a helpful series on the book of Revelation that might help speak to the Scriptural views that are held, rather than the sensational ones in Left Behind.
I went into this movie expecting a compelling depiction of how the end-times would look, at least in the worldview of LaHaye. I walked away seeing a half-baked movie that will appeal neither to nonChristians for its quality and memorability, nor Christians for its strong message. I cannot therefore recommend this movie.
Rating: 1 star (of our 4)