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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word
(2005), NR [PG-13*] (6.7 min)
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(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)
Production (US): ViaMedia
Distribution (US): Amazon.com
Director(s): Jon Lindgren
Producer(s): Jon Lindgren, Mark Smathers
Written by: Jon Lindgren
Cinematography/Camera: Jon Lindgren, Perry Berryhill
Music: Network Music, Pete Orta
Film Editing: Jon Lindgren
Casting: Jon Lindgren, Mark Smathers
Production Design: Jon Lindgren
Viewed at: Amazon.com
Rachel's Challenge is a very powerful recreation of real events. It is a gore-free presentation of the heinous and graphic final moments in the life of 17 year old Rachel Scott, the Columbine school shooting victim who would not deny her faith in God -- and was killed for it [Matt. 5:11, Matt. 10:22]. Eric Harris, accompanied by Dylan Klebold, after shooting Rachel three times used a semiautomatic handgun to her head, in the words of the narrator, execution style. While this is a short video (6.7 minutes), it reaches a powerful plateau in short order.
Events leading up to the murder of Rachel strongly pointed to a holy purpose within the tragedy. This short film examines the events through interviews with her teacher, friends and relatives including her father and sister and by inspection of Rachel's own writings and drawing.
The day Rachel was murdered, she felt inspired to make a symbolic drawing of, among other prophetic matters discussed in the film, her shedding 13 tears. Moments after her unfinished drawing, thirteen people were murdered that history-changing day on April 20, 1999 at the hands of Harris and Klebold.
For days, Rachel had been sharing with others that she felt she was going to die young but that her death would have meaning: that it would impact the world. Rachel had also written an essay where she issued a challenge to start a chain reaction of kindness and compassion. The same month Rachel wrote the essay, with the frenzied countenance of a madman Harris recorded a challenge to start a chain reaction of violence. The film presents a clip of the actual recorded challenge by Harris [1 Cor. 15:33].
In 1 Corinthians 15:33 God speaks to the influence of evil communications corrupting the morals of the victim. While there were several apparent factors which led to Harris and Klebold launching the carnage, I fully believe the decision made by Harris and Klebold to shoot was, beyond any shadow of a doubt, deeply influenced by the "evil communications" in a film they watched over and over, specifically Natural Born Killers (1994). In Natural Born Killers Mickey and Mallory indiscriminately kill 52 people and do so not only without regret but with cold, nihilistic arrogance: "It's just murder, man. All God's creatures do it."
While I agree that the industrial music Harris and Klebold listened to and the killer video games they played plus the peer rejection and tormenting they suffered indeed fueled their decision to shoot, I believe Natural Born Killers, watched by the shooters repeatedly, to be the single most influential "last straw" that broke the camel's back. Not realizing it when I wrote that sentence, it says that if that last straw had not been placed on the camel's back, its back might not have been broken and 13 people might still be alive. And many others who are now infirm to whatever degree might not be. But that is just my opinion.
I believe the same of The Basketball Diaries (1995) which is suspected to have been deeply influential in the decision of 14 year old Michael Carneal to shoot eight kids at the Heath High School in Paducah, KY. In The Basketball Diaries a teen walked into his high school and gunned down six of his classmates with a shotgun. As the county attorney of the Paducah tragedy said, "Kids don't think up these things on their own."
The same goes for the slasher flick Valentine (2001) which is suspected of leading to the stabbing murder of a fellow 11 year old Massachusetts classmate in the lobby of the theater showing the film.
God is right. He is right n everything. He is right in that such evil communications as Natural Born Killers, The Basketball Diaries and Valentine indeed corrupt the"good manners" (coping skills, behavior management, etc.) of they who feed their minds and hearts with such heinous entertainment as in these three films. Too bad we sometimes have to hear man echo God to believe God.
Harris and Klebold changed the world but for a short time in such a way that for many (except the victims and those close to them) has since evaporated into little more than a residue stain in our history. But Rachel changed the world in a lasting way. [Rom. 5:19] It might not be long before Columbine is associated with Rachel instead of Harris-Klebold.
Rachel's Challenge is gore-free but is yet intense with violence and murder considering its short length. In accordance with the comparative baseline database, several images of death, dying and murder earned this short film an R-rated equivalent score of zero out of 100 in two of the six CAP investigation areas: in each of Wanton Violence/Crime (W) and Murder/Suicide (M). But the rest of the content earned this film a G-rated equivalent score of 100 out of 100 in four of the six investigation areas: in each of Impudence/Hate (I), Sexual Immorality (S), Drugs/Alcohol (D) and Offense to God (O). Rachel's Challenge earned a final score of 67 which places it at the very top of the scoring range earned by PG-13 films (67 to 55 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database, only one point below the scoring ranged earned by PG films, making it a very "lite" PG-13.
You are free to view it for yourself and rate it yourself by going to the Amazon Theater Tribeca screening room between June 12 (after 5:00 PM) and June 17, 2005.
The CAP Ministry is not associated with Amazon, Tribeca or ViaMedia and has not received any monies of any kind for this service.
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***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)
That Rachel was killed for being Christian horribly provides an opportunity to share some reality with they who blare Christians have killed thousands, for example, in the Crusades:
April 27, 2003: In the twentieth century, Communists persecuted Christians horribly. During the height of Communism, an average of 330,000 Christians were killed every year (Foxe's Book of Martyrs, op. cit., p. 326). Although there are still a few Communist countries, like Cuba and China, where Christians are persecuted and tortured, it is Muslim countries that are responsible for killing the most Christians today. Between 155,000 and 159,000 Christians are currently being killed throughout the world each year - simply for being Christians.
I believe the above reveals that more Christians have been killed just for being Christian than those who were killed in all "holy wars" put together. Rachel is one of the 155,000 to 159,000 who were killed just for being Christian.
Though I seriously doubt either Harris or Klebold was Communist or Muslim, I hope this truth ends the attempts to shame Christians with the carnage of "holy wars" which were due to our freedom of choice, not God's inspiration.
Christian Educators Association International
|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.
ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture
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