In a Theater Near You — A science fiction movie with a subtly affirming Christian theme? Or a Christian story translated into a science fiction movie?
I don’t watch too many Christian movies because what I see in their promos usually feels upbeat but simplistic – sorry if that’s unchristian. But “The Shift” caught my attention by downplaying the Christian theme and highlighting one of my favorite memes, alternate timelines.
A man whose marriage, family, and career has deteriorated (played by Kristoffer Polaha) is suddenly thrust into the power of a mysterious and charismatic villain who rules a different and cruel America.
Polaha’s character quickly turns to a boyhood resource and appears to defeat the ironically named “Benefactor,” played by Neal McDonough, at their first meeting. But the dystopian world Polaha’s character was shifted into remains, and he must deal with the pathos and cruelty of it…as well as seek out his unreconciled wife.
It took a while for me to recognize the book of the Bible that the plot is based on – even with the character telling the tale from memory midway through the movie.
The double-circle motif linked to the title is an iconic and elegant representation of a shift – and that shift has a multiple meanings in the movie, too.
The acting is good, and the plot has depth and patiently waits to tell important details of the main character’s history, sometimes understated. And, the movie does not tediously waste too much time with his being shocked by, accepting, understanding, or escaping from the cruel world he has been forced into.
But firearms incongruously spit out plasma, and few people get shot in this cruel world, probably in an attempt to tamp down the violence in a subliminally Christian movie.
“The Shift” was produced by Angel Studios, who have a decent list of movies and videos including the recent “Sound of Freedom,” acclaimed by Conservatism – the “true story of a former government agent turned vigilante who embarks on a dangerous mission to rescue hundreds of children from traffickers.”
Starring Kristoffer Polaha (Angel, Mad Men, Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?, Jurassic World Dominion), Neal McDonough (Timeline, Minority Report, Tin Man), and Sean Astin (The Goonies, The Lord of the Rings, Stranger Things) – and written / directed / produced by Brock Heasley.
My rating: 4 1/2 out of five “Book of Job” x “1984” x “The Stand.