When you attend a Saturday morning performance of a “just opened” film and end up the only one in the theater, you can ignore the turn your phone off and no texting warnings. While good for me, it certainly does not bode well for the box office results of the film. While I refrained from the bad theater phone behavior, it didn’t take long to find out why I was the only one there.
While reasonably well cast with vet actors James Remar, Bruce Davison, Fred Thompson and Dean Stockwell, their efforts cannot save what ends up on screen. The problems lie on many levels. Amateurish direction. Inconsistent screenplay. Unbelievable concept. Unlikely events. And a film that is supposed to take place in Washington D.C. but is filmed entirely in Albuquerque, NM.
The storyline is credible in the beginning. A powerful TV evangelist played by Remar refuses to endorse a bill sponsored by a powerful senator played by Davison. Good so far. Then it’s stated that the bill won’t pass unless Remar backs it. He refuses to do so. They immediately set out to frame him for murder, which would most certainly cause his downfall. He had a checkered past before finding religion and was a good candidate for the set up.
They then try to turn the film into a thriller with Remar on the run and trying to clear his name. A priest played by Thompson tries to help out. Others try to take over his TV show. Killers from the government are hot on his trail. They have guns and badges. The F.B.I. also seem to be investigating somebody or something…just not sure what. In any case, they all want to capture or kill Remar before he can clear his name. What a muddled mess.
The direction and writing by Daniel Lusko is amateurish and amusing. DL uses a technique of showing scenes of Washington with people and cars all projected at high speed. I assume this is supposed to make the film move at a better pace. He also calls on Remar to show continual pain and anguish. At least 30 minutes of the 90 minute film are close ups of Remar in pain. Take an Advil.
President Bill Clinton (the story takes place in the early 90s) is portrayed as being in on the plot and shows some down home Southern humor. Producer James R. Higgins portrays Clinton, and is one of the high points of the film.
The point of this film is to show that religious persecution of Christians is strong in the US, and apparently in the early 90s abetted at the highest level of government. While they get their point across, they do it under the guise of poor filmmaking.
On the bright side the “sand man” teaser for “Atlas Shrugged III Who is John Galt?” is shown as an attached preview. This preview is brilliant and clever. It only runs a minute and can be found on YouTube. I suggest you watch this 1-minute for free and skip paying for 90 minutes of Persecuted.
Rated 1.5 out of 4 votes.