Persecuted seems to try to be the religious version of an Oliver Stone film but fails at almost every turn. First, the actual plot is thin and seemingly inconsequential not to mention overly dramatic; second, the pacing and editing felt off making a 90-minute movie feel a lot longer; and third the acting is at best average although I’ll give some credit to James Remar for at least giving it a go.
Genre(s): Drama, Suspense/Thriller
Millennium | PG13 – 91 min. – $24.99 | October 14, 2014
THE MOVIE – 1.25/5
Plot Outline: America’s most respected religious leader John Luther (JAMES REMAR) is the last obstacle to the passage of legislation, spearheaded by Senator Donald Harrison (BRUCE DAVISON), that would require all religious leaders to give other faiths equal time. When Luther refuses to support this bill, sinister political forces frame him for the murder of an innocent girl to get him out of their way. As evangelist turned fugitive, Luther must stay alive long enough to prove his innocence, seek vengeance against the girl’s murderers and expose corruption at the highest levels of politics and religion. It’s a mission that brings him face-to-face with the coming storm of persecution that will threaten the entire Christian community in America.
Quick Hit Review: Persecuted is the latest in the seemingly, and suddenly, numerous religious/faith based genre that has permeated movie theaters from both major blockbusters (Noah) to the smaller budgeted ones (God’s Not Dead and the upcoming Left Behind remake starring Nicolas Cage). Not to get into spiritualism and religion as a whole, I do believe in a higher power but don’t belong to a particular faith so this film is not aimed at me nor is it one that will change the minds of non-believers. As a thriller, it’s amateurishly done with odd pacing, shoddy editing, laughable acting (for the most part) and a muddy plot where the consequences seem overly dramatic, as if World War 3 was upon us.
Written, produced and directed by Daniel Lusko, Persecuted just was not a well made movie but I suppose those heavy in the religious sect might get something out of it, for others it’s fodder for mockery not so much on the religious front but on the filmmaking aspects. Skip it. For the love of… you know.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.25/5
For whatever reason, all of the features are only on the DVD Copy while the Blu-ray disc only has previews. So, with that in mind, the features include an Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Daniel Lusko, Cinematographer Richard Vialet, Editor Brian Brinkman and Composer Chris Ridenhour; a Behind the Scenes (6:40) featurette and an Interview (6:22) with Lusko and Fred Dalton Thompson on a what I presume to be a Christian morning show.
VIDEO – 4.0/5
Persecuted arrives on Blu-ray presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture here isn’t anything extraordinary but serviceable enough with good detail levels and colors tend to be on the darker side in keeping with the tone the movie tries to portray. That said, there are some banding in a couple of scenes so not the perfect transfer but good enough.
AUDIO – 4.0/5
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is decent enough from the opening with protesters to the quieter moments with dialogue. Also overtaking the track is Chris Ridenhour’s score which is in just about every scene in the first half of the film. As with the video, I didn’t think it was anything special however it does get the job done…
OVERALL – 2.0/5
Overall, Persecuted seems to try to be the religious version of an Oliver Stone film but fails at almost every turn. First, the actual plot is thin and seemingly inconsequential not to mention overly dramatic; second, the pacing and editing felt off making a 90-minute movie feel a lot longer; and third the acting is at best average although I’ll give some credit to James Remar for at least giving it a go. The Blu-ray released by Millennium was unusual with all the bonus material residing on the DVD copy and not the Blu-ray; the audio and video transfers, while nothing special, were decent enough.
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.