I finally got out to see Courageous, the new movie by the Kendrick brothers of Albany, Georgia. I was afraid that I might miss seeing it in the theaters due to God friendly films usually having a short theatrical life, but it is testament to what a great film it is that it is still around. For those not familiar with their story, Alex and Stephen Kendrick are associate pastors of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. They had aspired to be film makers since childhood and some years back they decided to answer the call to become the Steven Speilbergs of the faith based movie world.
This journey began back in 2003 with the release of Flywheel an interesting little movie about Godly business practices. Then followed up by Facing the Giants about overcoming adversity. Next would come Fireproof a film about a firefighter whose marriage is in danger and the steps he would take to reclaim it. Now we have the latest entry in Courageous which tackles the importance of fatherhood. Each has had a different type of hero and problem, but each has focused around biblical principals in resolving the issue and likewise each is set locally around the Albany area.
It has been interesting seeing the progression and improvements with each film in production quality and acting skills. Flywheel is a fun and touching little movie, but is obviously a low budget film. Facing the Giants is a vast improvement in those regards and is very inspiring. Fireproof has even better production quality, but goes a little high on the preachiness scale at points. Nonetheless, it has very gripping firefighting scenes and Kirk Cameron turns in an excellent performance.
Now we have Courageous. Courageous is the best yet. The story is excellent and it gets its point across without the same obvious preaching that you find in Fireproof. It has more professional actors and the ones who have grown into the business with these films, such as Alex Kendrick himself have vastly improved at their craft. Ken Bevel — another associate pastor at Sherwood — as Deputy Nathan Hayes turns in a wonderful performance in his second film and is proving to be a natural actor. The police action scenes are skillfully done and will have you on the edge of your seat. This movie will make you both laugh and cry then take you to a climax that drives its point home in no uncertain terms.