Monday, November 1, 2010

Movie Review - Rust

I remember a year or two ago (maybe more), I was sitting in a fastfood restaurant reading the news paper. There was a really interesting article about a guy who was using the internet as a gimmick (big surprise there). His idea was brilliant-- start with a paperclip, trade up until he's got a house.

And he did it. He traded this for that. Eventually, I remember some Hollywood actor getting involved-- trading a role in a movie. And voila, this original guy gets his house.

Now flash forward. I get sent the faith-based movie "Rust." And I find out, that this is the movie that was part of that internet trading up gimmick. I think that's pretty cool.

Corbin Bernsen (not a "Believer" in the sense that most evangelicals define it, based on reading some of his interviews on the web), wrote a movie that he wanted to explore the issues of faith for a clergyman returning to his small home town. The movie really reminded me a lot of Robert Duvall's "The Apostle."

Rust is the story of a man walking away from the clergy and going back home. There he picks up pieces of relationships he left behind many years ago, including his father, friends, and family members. But one friend is missing-- he's gone crazy and is in jail for burning down a farmhouse with the beloved family inside it. The facts don't all add up and in between seeking for his faith, James Moore (Corbin Bernsen) goes digging deeper into this mystery.

I'm not sure where the title came from-- there was one quick reference to rust, but I didn't see the connection. I'm guessing it's because Moore's is "rusty" from being away from home? Has let "rust" set in to his life as a man of God? But that's all okay. See, made me think. And that's always good.

What is really unique here, is the flavor that writer/director Bernsen brought to the film. Other than himself as the lead, he cast the entire movie from a small town up north (which was part of the contest). I've used non-professional actors and it can be extremely tough. But Bernsen proves to be a pro here. However he did it, he directed these townspeople to really strong performances. Bernsen makes it look easy.

The movie is rich visually, and the story is engaging. The performances, based on where they came from, are nothing short of amazing. And because Bernsen pulls off the use of the town, the voice and feel of the movie is extremely unique and different.

I'm afraid to praise this movie too much-- many young filmmakers will bypass solid actors because "see you can use non-professionals and make a strong movie." For the filmmaking community, I wish Bernsen had put on the back of the box-- "this was done by a professional-- do not try this at home."

At the end of the day, I recommend this movie. It's thought-provoking and certainly not given to cliches and other formulaic problems of faith-based filmmaking.

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