I‘ve got a new column at Christianity Today, where I’m the chief film critic, called “Watch This Way.” Last week, after I saw the remarkable film Calvary, I posted some reflections on why being a Christian and making a good film requires being a wretch:
When art is made in order to carry a message, it becomes a servant to ideology—to a system of abstracted ideas and ideals. Ideologies are not in themselves bad, but they often hit rough patches when they come out of the clouds and down to earth. (For instance, the pacifist who is suddenly less of a pacifist when the lives of his wife and children are threatened by an intruder.)
Movies and TV shows built to transfer particular abstract ideas wind up fitting the story to the ideas, instead of letting the story and characters breathe and live like real people, who are messy and inconsistent and confusing. Like you. Like me.