Specials: Allende & Walden; Slamming "End of the Spear"

Tuesday specials:

The New York Times looks at Walden Media’s Isabel Allende project.

The Village Voice seeks to impale End of the Spear, the new film based on the famous and true missionary story Through Gates of Splendor.

Coy crypto-Christian claptrap masquerading as feel-good ethnography, End of the Spear is part missionaries-in-peril potboiler (sans pot) and part Bush-era evangelical screed. It’s the kind of oversweet cinematic Kool-Aid they used to force-feed us in Sunday school….

…its Davey and Goliath dogmatism comes through as loud and clear as the sinister subtext behind its message of nonviolence—that the world’s nonwhite, “undeveloped” cultures continue to require prophylactic doses of Yank benevolence in order to survive and thrive.


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  • Ellen Collison

    It took me a while to figure it out, too, although it was clear that it wasn’t meant literally.

    Sometimes I wish writing could convey tone of voice – but then again, not…!

  • Anna

    My boyfriend showed me this post and asked me if I thought you were being serious or not. Apparently I am the expert on Overstreet sarcasm since I “have been reading Looking Closer blog longer”, according to him.

    So my point is… the internet can be a difficult medium in which to convey sarcasm.

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    I don’t. I find it encouraging. I was being sarcastic, but I guess it didn’t come across.

  • -B

    Still haven’t quite figured out why you find this outrageous.

  • St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse

    By all means, when some entity like VV pans a film based on it’s spiritual orthodoxy, I make a mental note to see the film. Who cares what Roger Ebert thinks, I look at who howls loudest about a film to make a judgement about it.

  • The Cubicle Reverend

    I won’t exactly take the Village Voices word on whether this movie will be good or bad, but I do plan on catching it. I am curious to see whether it’s any good or not.

  • Anonymous

    I saw an early screening of this several months ago, and I can guarantee, it was nowhere near what Holcomb paints it to be. Perhaps in the couple months since I’ve seen it they’ve enriched the spiritual material in it, but when I saw it, I was wanting more spiritual content from the story, considering the life of the man in question, Nate Saint. What I saw was cloaked Christianity in a movie that was more about the adventures and horrors of living in the jungles of Equador with a bunch of savage indians.
    In reference to his diatribe against the ‘social’ agenda in the movie, if I might say, I can’t remember, but it seems that regardless, this reviewer had more of a mind for religious bashing, than for objective criticism. it seem
    Sounds like someone who was already bent against any movie that has anything remotely spiritual hinting from the outside edges.
    I actually found the movie to be well done, as compared to the regular Christian fare available at the moment. There was definitely an effort within the team of people creating this movie to bring Christian media to a higher level through this movie. Interestingly, the writer for this movie was also the writer for Luther, another decent religiously bent film.
    My problem with the movie was that at the time that I saw it, it failed to catch my emotional attention, and left me a bit cold. I appreciated it only as much as I appreciate the original story of Nate Saint and John Elliot.
    It will be easier to assess it a week after the movie comes out, and a more objective and rounded viewpoint will hopefully come forth.