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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word
(2003), PG [PG*]
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(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Walden Media
Distribution (US): Artisan Entertainment, David Productions Ltd., Walden Media
Director(s): Paul Feig
Producer(s): Davina Belling, Andrea Borella, Lauren Levine, Clive Parsons, Plamen Voynovsky, Vladimir Voynovsky
Written by: Anne Holm (novel I Am David)
Screenplay: Paul Feig
Cinematography/Camera: Roman Osin
Music: Stewart Copeland
Film Editing: Steven Weisberg
Casting: Pippa Hall
Production Design: Giovanni Natalucci
Set Decoration: Antonello Rubino
Viewed at: United Artists/Regal Entertainment
Based on Anne Holme's 1963 "North to Freedom", I Am David is a poignant tale of a 1950s twelve year old David (Paul Tibber) with directions to escape a Bulgarian prison camp and go to Denmark with a sealed envelope he was not to open. Why David was in the prison camp was not clear but apparently because his parents (Adrian McCourt and Maria Bonnevie) were enemies of the ruling government. I Am David is a tale of his travels, of his terror and trials along the way and of the treasure at the end of his journey.
David indeed escaped the prison camp where he was doing hard labor for who-knows-what with mentor and confidante Johannes, played by James Caviezel of The Passion of the Christ. Caviezel plays a short and similarly self-sacrificing role as in The Passion of the Christ as he gives up his life in sacrifice. In this case, for David.
I am going to spoil that part of the plot to help you make your own decision about the caliber of this film without having to see it first. In the prison camp, David is in possession of a stolen bar of soap. The brutal and sadistic camp commandant felt that whoever stole the soap had to die as an example for anyone thinking of defiance. Standing next to David in the interrogation line-up, Johannes took the soap from David. Through a series of winks and knowing nods at the officer who was to kill the soap thief convinced him to take his life instead of David's. A truly noble gesture to be sure, but maybe not a good idea for adolescents to contemplate in and as entertainment. As Harvard educated child development expert Dr. Karen Nelson and other child psychology and counseling experts agree with me, it would be unusual for even a 16 year old to be able to fully separate fantasy from reality: that such ability does not typically plateaux until the early 20s.
During his trek, the writers had David bathing in a small pond of lightly murky water with the camera angle from above. Why on earth the filmmakers were not satisfied with shoulders-and-up shots, and why they would want to film the bathing beaux from overhead are beyond me. First of all, it is not likely a 12 year old lad left to himself on a survival mission would bother to lather up only a couple days into his trek. However, this was not a lad on a survival mission. It was Tibber getting paid to act in a film. Maybe the overhead view of the 12 year old boy bathing was for the newly pubescent girls in the audience. Or worse. I don't know. But I do strongly question the intentions of the filmmakers for that ignoble scene. That such was "true to the book" or that such was "play acting" do not excuse the sin of exploiting young kids, Mr. Feig. If they did, I guess we can let actors in murder films really murder. If I sound miffed at such behavior in the name of entertainment, I am.
During David's flight he met a number of noble and ignoble characters. One of the noble characters was the beneficent Sophie (the always grande and motherly, Joan Plowright) who took in David almost as her own son and was instrumental in David reaching his goal.
Another set of characters David met was an Italian family whose daughter seemed to threaten to make the film another boy/girl coming of age film. Initially the son of the family beat David up then David saved the family's daughter from a fiery death. After saving the girl she was seen holding vigilance over David's sleeping body in a bedroom as he succumbed to the much needed rest from the stress and strain of travel heaped upon by the harrowing rescue. This scene reeked of becoming a repeat of Back to the Future where Lorraine (Lea Thompson) thought the name of the bed-ridden boy, Marty (Michael J. Fox), bed-ridden because her father hit him with a car, was Calvin Klein since she saw that name stitched to his underwear when taking his clothes off to make him comfy, of course. But purity prevails in I Am David and the time with the Italian family is indeed a wholesome encounter.
The Wanton Violence/Crime (W) investigation area found a number of events such as a child under brutal/survival conditions, firearm threats and an order to kill a child, all under prison camp rule. [Prov. 3:31]
The Impudence/Hate (I) investigation area found no foul or vulgar language whatsoever but found a number of instances of lying. [Prov. 19:5]
The Sexual Immorality (S) investigation area found a scene of porn magazines with no images seen and an adult innuendo. Of most significance was the episode of the boy bathing with the camera shooting the scene from above. [Matt. 18:7]
The Drugs/Alcohol (D) investigation area noted nothing, but the Offense to God (O) investigation area found two instances of praying to saints, not to God. God gives us a "direct line" to Him. We do not need any intermediary. [Luke 11:2]
The Murder/Suicide (M) investigation area found only an unseen but heard gunfire murder. [Rev. 22:15]
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.
***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
(The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
|There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.|
|In the name of Jesus: |
Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
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