Movie Review

End of the Spear

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of violence

Reviewed by: Chris Monroe
STAFF WRITER

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Historical drama
Length:
1 hr. 48 min.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
January 20, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Jungle Films LLC
Copyright, Jungle Films LLC
Copyright, Jungle Films LLC
Copyright, Jungle Films LLC
Copyright, Jungle Films LLC
Copyright, Jungle Films LLC
Copyright, Jungle Films LLC
Copyright, Jungle Films LLC
Copyright, Jungle Films LLC
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Jungle Films LLC
Beyond the Gates of Splendor
Review of the related documentary: “Beyond the Gates of Splendor”

Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
What is the HOPE that drove these missionaries to risk their lives? What changed brutal murderers into kind and loving followers of a man who died 2000 years ago? Discover for yourself the overwhelming message of HOPE that God brings to man… presented chronologically from the foundation of the world to our own time.

Keywords


Elisabeth Elliot
Read ELISABETH ELLIOT’s daily on-line DEVOTIONAL. She served as a missionary for many years to the tribe that killed her beloved husband, Jim Elliot, and the other 4 missionaries.
Chad Allen in End of the Spear

Answers to questions about Chad Allen, the actor who plays both Nate and Steve Saint in this film:

Sadly, Chad Allen is not a follower of Christ himself, despite some Christian influence in his life, including living in the jungle for 3 weeks with Christian Steve Saint and the Waodani Christians. We pray that good influence will one day bear fruit. Steve is a dear and loving Christian who we trust shared the Gospel—and joyfully lives it. In an interview published in InLA magazine Allen mentions his own, rather New Age view,

“I am from a Christian background [Roman Catholic], but I have a personal spirituality that spans the distance from Buddhism to Hindu philosophy to Native American beliefs.”

Allen is openly homosexual and a high-profile Gay Rights activist and producer. He promoted same-sex marriage and Gay/Lesbian adoption in a debate against Pastor John MacArthur on the “Larry King Live” show (Feb. 24, 2004). A few days before “End of the Spear” was released, he again defended Gay marriage on “Larry King Live” (Jan. 17, 2006), debating against Albert Mohler, Jr., President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and conservative radio host Janet Parshall.

During this latter TV broadcast, Chad Allen said of the “End of the Spear” crew, “…I made this movie with a group of conservative Christians who do not agree with my expression of sexuality. But we said to each other, I will walk with you accepting your differences, and we can create together. I will give you your space to respect you fully.” Despite her strong differences with Allen on homosexuality, Parshall graciously took the opportunity to give a nod to the film and it’s message at the end of the program,

“Chad Allen stars in a wonderful film called “End of the Spear”. He plays a fellow by the name of Nate Saint, who was macheted to death by a very, very aggressive tribe in Ecuador. And you know what, Steve, his son, is now alive today. He travels with the man who macheted his father to death. And they didn’t say to the Waodani tribe, hey, make it up, you can find your own path to God. They told them exactly how to find God, and their whole lives and their entire culture changed because of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So, Chad, it’s a great film, and I’m going to be happy to be seeing it.”

No Gay issues are promoted in the film, and we presume that Chad Allen was hired for his talent, looks and other practical considerations—not his anti-Biblical views. However, it seems the producers used poor judgment in knowingly hiring an actor who is actively promoting sin—and publicly confronting the Bible—to play a famous and much-loved Christian missionary and martyr. We acknowledge that despite decisions fallible humans make, God is certainly capable of using all for good—just as He did with the Saint and Elliot families and the Waodani tribe.

• Fellow Christians, please join us in fervently praying that Mr. Allen will one day repent of the sins he is practicing, as Nate Saint and Jim Elliot did, and humbly serve our Lord Jesus Christ, rather than opposing Him. The end of his story is known only to God.

• What were the producers thinking? Response from the Director of “End of the Spear” on criticism received about the casting of Chad Allen (off-site blog)

Answers about homosexuality:

  • What about gays needs to change? Answer - It may not be what you think.
  • What’s wrong with being gay? Answer (Homosexual behavior versus the Bible: Are people born gay? Does homosexuality harm anyone? Is it anyone’s business? Are homosexual and heterosexual relationships equally valid?)
  • What does the Bible say about same sex marriage? Answer
  • What should be the attitude of the church toward gays and homosexuality? Answer

How to share Christ’s message with homosexuals

Claim: God made me a homosexual. Response


Christian Answers EffectiveEvangelism™ site - Learn how to be more effective in sharing the Gospel
THOUSANDS OF EVANGELISM TIPS - Stumped about how to share your faith in Christ with others? EffectiveEvangelism.com, a ministry of ChristianAnswers.Net, assists Christians in effectively reaching out to others with love and truth. Learn about the worldview of your audience, ways to share the gospel, read stories submitted by site users, and more.

The Rainforest: People, Animals and Facts
The Rainforest: People, Animals and Facts - Learn about the rainforest by meeting some native peoples, seeing where and how they live, and more! A cross-cultural photo-rich journey that will leave you with a lasting impression.
Featuring: Louie Leonardo, Chad Allen, Jack Guzman, Christina Souza, Chase Ellison, Sean McGowan, Cara Stoner, Beth Bailey, Stephen Caudill, Matt Lutz, Cheno Mepaquito, Jose Liberto Caizamo, Patrick Zeller, Magdalena Condoba Traci Dinwiddie
Director: Jim Hanon
Producer: Every Tribe Entertainment
Distributor: Jungle Films LLC

“Dare to make contact”

Copyrighted by distributorThe dramatic event of the murder of five missionaries in the jungles of Ecuador in 1956 can be told in numerous ways from numerous perspectives. In the brilliantly titled film “End of the Spear”, several of these various points of view are included, but the one that transcends them all is the personal story of Steve Saint, son to one of the five missionaries killed. It is Steve Saints experience that begins and ends this redemptive drama, but his tale is one that highlights a theme that runs throughout all of the tales: the divine concept of forgiveness.

The question raised at the beginning of this film—although not completely clear—is how will one man respond when he meets face to face with the very men who murdered his father. This is the same story that is explored in the documentary film “Through Gates of Splendor” (also directed by Jim Hanon), which takes us through various events leading up to Steve Saint returning to the very place his father lost his life and facing the men responsible for his fathers death.

This narrative account, “The End of the Spear”, first flashes back to 1943 and gives us background into the indigenous Waodani people of Ecuador. It emphasizes the relationship Steve (Chad Allen) had with his father as a child, highlights the missionary endeavor and tragedy, and retells how this violent tribe of people is changed by the Gospel and the power of God. Other subplots and key characters, such as Dayumae (Christina Souza) and her relationship with Nate Saints sister, Rachel (Sara Kathryn Bakker) are briefly described in the film, but the focus remains on the personal journey of Steve Saint and the difficulty he must face.

The filmmakers for “End of the Spear” have managed to keep a Gospel message in the retelling of this story. In the scene where the Gospel is most clearly laid out, Dayumae, who has become a believer, shares with her people how the “carvings of Waengongi” (the Word of God) teaches them not to kill each other. She explains that Waengongi (God) once had a Son who was speared, but that He did not retaliate. It is the most straightforward depiction of the Gospel message, showing how Christ Jesus suffered unto death, but did not take revenge. This is a key point for the Waodani culture, since they live and die by the spear.

While this scene is very meaningful and poignant, at first it was not clear to me who they were referring to when they said “Waengongi.” Someone else also thought it may have just been another person in the tribe, but it soon became obvious in this scene that they were referring to God. Not that this is a prerequisite for telling this story, but there is no recollection of the word “God” (other than Waengongi) or the name “Jesus” ever spoken in the film. It would seem that, due to the subject matter, it might have been helpful to emphasize these a little more.

Apart from various semantics regarding names and titles involving the spiritual significance of the story, the facts and the events themselves are ones that teach these biblical concepts well enough. For instance, the fact that these five missionary men contacted the Waodani tribe with absolute love and pure motives and willingly died in an attempt to lead them to Christ, parallels what Jesus has done for us in giving His life as a sacrifice. Further, it is highlighted several times that these five missionary men—when they were attacked—were armed and could have fought back. They did not. This fact alone was crucial for the Waodani in understanding the Gospel. This point led them to realize that the five men were out to help them and not to hurt them, and it gave the Waodani an example to follow in not killing any more.

Again, this film could have many different perspectives, and, if you know the story in any other way already, you may notice various aspects that have been left out. For example, we see Dayumae throughout the story, but don’t see the process she goes through in coming to faith in Christ. Similarly, we don’t see Mincayani explicitly surrender to Christ. Perhaps because this is not always easy to show on film (i.e., a prayer of faith to God showing absolute trust in Him), what is emphasized are the different actions the Waodani people take. This is primarily shown in the fact that these people increasingly ceased to spear and kill each other. They use visual actions, such as Kimo (Jack Guzman) breaking a spear in half and refusing to fight. It is clear depictions like this that show us that these people are changed, but it feels as if the reason behind these actions is not emphasized enough. The only way these men could have done this is because of the power of God and through their faith in Him. The main decision-making we see is with Steve Saint and the choices faced at the end.

This is a wonderful and amazing story, but “End of the Spear” feels like it limits some of the heart behind the things that happen. In the beginning, it is mentioned that these five men are missionaries, but it does not show the heart behind why they are excited to “reach” the Waodani. As a believer in Christ, one can understand it, but the passion behind loving these people felt a little circumvented. There were many things that were done right in this production, but when dealing with something that is so precious to so many, it is hoped that it will be told just as meaningfully as we know the story already.

The quality of the filmmaking is decent and works fairly well overall. The filmmakers have managed to curtail the violence, although there are several fairly graphic scenes involving people being speared to death. The sound effects of people being speared seem to be muted to a degree so as to not bombard our senses. This violence is the reason for the PG-13 rating.

There are many angles that this story could have been told from, but perhaps Steve Saints point of view was chosen because it spans so many years. He was a child when his father was killed, and now, as an adult, he has gone to live again in the Ecuadorian jungle with the Waodani people. A potent incident that happened in the real story, which was left out in this film, is how Steve was baptized by one of the very men who killed his father. Other events seem to be added in to help tell this story that may or may not have been true, but nevertheless are used to help convey its meaning.

At times, it felt like this film was trying to do too much. Perhaps certain events could have been left out in order to streamline the story. Another angle this film could have been taken from is through Rachel Saint, the first missionary to contact the Waodani, and also the one to lead the first Waodani believer, Dayumae, to Christ. It is then through Dayumae that her people hear the Gospel. The death of the five men also plays a key part in that process.

This is an important story to be told, and it should be celebrated that a version of it has made it into the mainstream media. It is worth supporting and can be beneficial to a wide variety of audiences.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: None / Sex: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments

Positive

Positive—I first learned of this story by hearing it on the radio and reading it in Life Magazine. I also read the books published soon after the five men were killed. This movie tells this dramatic story by re-enacting it on the movie screen. It is told from the view of the killers, more than that of the missionaries. Those familiar with the story will find new details in this movie which were not known until recently. I recommend the movie. I also recommend the book, 'End of the Spear.'
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—David Johnson, age 67
Positive—…I can wholeheartedly recommend it! The quality of the film is excellent and true to the story. It is both moving (I cried and laughed) and disturbing (the movie makers do not hold back on the violence that took place in this tribe back in the 50’s). Because of the intense scenes of violence when the 5 missionary men are killed, I do not recommend this for small children. The movie will tell this inspirational story of forgiveness and redemption to the next generation in a way they can relate to. Go see the movie “End of the Spear”!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Robin, age 42
Positive—I recommend seeing this movie. The message of grace and forgiveness and love is so amazing that it took my breath away. We did not take my daughter (8) and feel that was the right choice, because this is real life! We didn’t want her to fear for our missionary friends. Otherwise, my words cannot praise this film enough for telling us the missionaries' story and reminding us of how much we are loved and wanted by our Heavenly Father. As a movie, it was interesting, with beautiful scenery and good acting. Yes, there is violence, but we knew to expect this before going.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Johnna, age 42
Positive—This is a great movie! I was on the edge of my seat for most of the movie and I already knew the story. The acting and the whole production is better than many other movies out there and the story is very compelling. While I don’t think the name of Jesus was mentioned, God’s plan of redemption and forgiveness was clearly the motivation behind the missionaries and their actions and the changed lives of the indians. If I were discussing this with an unbeliever I would make sure they understood this. There is specific mention of God’s plan of redemption but they use the indian name for God so some people would miss it. This is not an “In your face” Christian movie. It is more subtle, probably to get a wider viewing. This just means that we need to do our job of spreading the Gospel—instead of letting a movie do the work for us, we can use this movie as a powerful tool to help us point people to Jesus.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—George Kern, age 45
Positive—This is an excellent movie about God’s love and how it can overcome evil. What’s most intriguing was that most of the story is told through the point of view of the Waodani tribe, so we get to see their reactions as the “foreigners” make contact. We understand them as people, not as a tribe to be feared. It’s a Christian film with a true Christian message. Follow Jesus, love your enemies, and your life will be changed. I wonder how many Christians will walk away from this movie still believing that in the wake of terrorism. What America does in killing the enemy is no different than these tribes killing each other. If we Christians really reached out in Christ’s love to all the world, I wonder how much more powerfully our enemies hearts would change too. This movie’s story is a great testimony to all those who doubt in the power of the love of Jesus Christ.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 3
—John Havens, age 34
Positive—I saw this movie Friday night with several teenagers in my youth group, and we loved it! Having read Elisabeth Elliot’s book Through Gates of Splendor, I knew the true story of these 5 missionaries, which made the visual depiction even more heartbreaking. Even though a clear gospel presentation was not made, Christ’s love and mercy and the missionaries' vision shone through. The gospel was presented in terms the tribe could understand, and so mention of Jesus and God was not necessary; they instead used the name of the god the Waodoni could understand.

When the movie was over, the theater was silent; we all just sat, sniffled, and absorbed it all. What an amazing sacrifice these men made, and the forgiveness and love their families showed these murderers is astounding. It truly exemplifies Christ. I highly recommend this movie, but it is definitely not for young children. For anyone with a passion for missions or evangelism—see this movie! It will truly inspire you to want to do more.

Jim Elliot, one of the missionaries, wrote several years before he left for Ecuador, 'I only hope that [God] will let me preach to those who have never heard that name Jesus. What else is worth while in this life? I have heard nothing better. 'Lord, send me!'' I pray that through this movie, just as through the lives and deaths of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming, others will hear and other will come to know the name of Jesus Christ.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Heather, age 24
Positive—…I would highly recommend it to anyone. Christian films have come a long way in past years, and this is a perfect example. My hope is that this film, besides portraying how Christ can work in and through people, will encourage people to read more about the lives of these missionaries and their wives. I have read several books by Elisabeth Elliot regarding her life, and this particular story, and they have been inspiring and convicting! This movie made me laugh, cry, and reflect upon how willing I am to serve Christ at all cost.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Jamie, age 28
Positive—This is a deeply moving portrayal of the true story. I found it parallel to the documentary film, “Beyond the Gates of Splendor.” My family and I watched the documentary the night before which helped me understand “End of the Spear” more fully when we saw it the next day. God is still using these missionary families and their story to change lives and reach a hurting world. I recommend the movie very highly. We plan to take our local youth group to see the movie and will buy the DVD when it comes out. Thank you for allowing me to voice my opinion on this excellent film.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Michele G., age 56
Positive—I went to see this movie on Sunday at 7 p.m., and besides my husband and son, there were only 4 or 5 more people in the theater, so sad. I had no idea that one actor was a homosexual, but by watching the movie, I see no evidence of homosexuality portrayed by the actors (?). I also did not know any additional information on these missionaries, but I did see the message of the Gospel said in simple words so the natives could understand it, and the scene on the angels, made us cry. I recommend everyone go see this movie. It moves fast, but you can clearly follow the story. At the end, they show footage that is so funny, so don’t leave before you see this footage!!!
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Karen, age 29
Positive—I, for one, loved this movie! I read both of Elizabeth Elliot’s books and have always been intrigued by their heartwrenching story. And I’m not horrified by the choice of Chad Allen to play the late Nate Saint. He’s most assuredly not the first film star to be involved in sin. And he probably won’t be the last. People that judge this film harshly based on the fact that Allen is gay probably need a refresher course in salvation. Can’t Allen be saved by the same grace that saved us all? …He is no less and no more human than you and I. I give much credit to Steve Saint for listening to his heart and what I believe was the voice of God. It couldn’t be more obvious to me that God is trying to do a work here. Judgmental Christians will interfere with this work, mark my words! Why would Chad Allen now even want to be a Christian?

At the end of the movie Steve Saint says, 'I think My dad would have liked the fact that the man who murdered him was now a grandfather to his grandkids'. He was willing to die in order that these savages could know the love of Christ. I think he would also like the fact that Chad played him in the movie. He would like even more the fact that the same grace that saved him, the Wadouni, and all of us could even save someone like Chad Allen!… Thank God for people like the Saints, especially you Steve, for loving Chad like Jesus would.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Melissa, age 41
Positive—This is simply one of the best films I have seen. I was moved in a way that has not occurred since “The Passion of the Christ”. It showed Christian love being lived as it was meant to be, the horrible consequences when reaching out to a tribe that only knows sin, and the wonderful long-term impact. The forgiveness and dedication to God’s calling that is shown is something that would be laughed at as unrealistic if it wasn’t true. Some people have been offended because it is not an openly preaching film. I find its strength lies in that fact. Without preaching, the dedication of the Christian missionaries comes through very loud and clear for all who wish to listen.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—Bill Bagot, age 40
Positive—…people are critcizing the way the Gospel message is presented. For me it was one of the movie’s greatest strengths. We have a lot of movies that do a wonderful job of presenting the Gospel. We also have a lot of movies that pontificate quite well too. Jesus said that people will know we are his disciples by our love for one another. I think this movie is a rarity… it doesn’t quote scripture… it paraphrases it. Nate Saint is portrayed as a Christian not by quoting scripture but by his love for his family and untimately his willingnes to lay down his life for his enemies. The world has long heard about scripture but there has been little love shown in conjunction. We are all guilty of this to different degrees. This is where “End Of The Spear” soars. It is never preachy. There is nothing wrong with quoting scripture, scripture should be used, but it is more important to have the heart of God and explain the gospel in a way that is relevant to the listener rather than to be able to memorize a scripture word for word.

I encourage everyone to see this movie; it is so well done musically and visually as well other than having a great message.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Jennifer, age 28
Positive—I honestly cannot understand how someone can see this movie and NOT see God and Jesus Christ in it. The whole movie shows this transformation of the Waodani. God’s son was speared so that they no longer have to spear each other. God and Christ is woven into the story, although usually in the Waodani language (subtitled). Since the focus was more on the Woadani and not the missionaries, it made sense for the flow of the movie NOT to focus on tons of prayer and Bible reading, but it is in there and as the movie progresses, there is reference to prayer and the Bible.

I was inspired by the movie, awed by the beauty of the area and horrified at the senseless death. The juxtaposition of two lives (Mincayani and Steve Saint) is well written, in my opinion and blends well in the story.

Obviously, it is a movie, made by man. These are actors and not the actual missionaries. Chad Allen was an excellent actor (Nate and Steve Saint). This is his job, and he did it well. I will gladly pray for his salvation. Those of you that are perfect can throw the first stone for I cannot do that. I am saved but not perfect. I do recommend the movie and will happily encourage others to see it as a powerful message that God can use to His Glory.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Rebecca, age 44
Positive—I saw “End of the Spear” when a family friend required me to watch this. Since I want to go into the missionary field, He told me the story and how the people (missionaries) changed the tribes lives. So I rented it. I was going into the movie thinking the story won’t match up to what I have been told. (You know how Hollywood can be.) But to my surprise it was pretty accurate. I had so many feelings. Sadness, anger, frustration, sympathy, happiness, and relief. I have a whole different perspective on life in general, and the mission field is no walk in the park. If you are led to go into the mission field. You will not stop thinking about it, dreaming about it, daydreaming about it. It will be in your mind and pressed into your heart. There is a difference in doing it for the glory and being lea to by the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY. The LORD will not let it go if HE wants one to do HIS Will. This film has taught me that. This film should be shown in Churches across the world. What those men did and their families is what we should do. If you are going on a mission trip think to yourself: Am I willing to die for these people? If not then you are not called to. If yes, then you are on the right track and GOD will lead you through. Because the men gave their lives, so many people of the tribe gave their lives and their hearts to JESUS CHRIST. Just like JESUS did when HE died on the cross for everyone of us.

But I did not like the fact that the Chad Allen who played Nate Saint/Steve Saint is not a Christian and that he is not saved. I believe that the movie would have been more successful if everyone who was in the movie were Christians and who were saved. GOD will bless those who believe in HIM. HE is not going to work through and bless those who refuse them. We should definitely be in prayer for Chad and those who are not saved.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Courtney, age 18

Neutral

Neutral—I can agree with the main commentary above. It is a film worth seeing, my wife is already planning to own it on DVD. We both enjoyed the film, except for the ending. We thought leaving out the salvation of Mincayani which seemed to be the well intended climax of the film was disappointing and left a gaping hole in the soul of the movie. Viewers are left with the presumption that he must have had an experience, but to what degree???

The film is very moving. Of course, we knew the story, so we understood what really was happening. One man left the theatre unsure of what he just saw and what it was intended to mean. I am afraid that the producer went from one extreme to another in artistic liberty by forsaking the outlandish preachiness of Billy Graham films to a practical embarrassment of the Gospel in the “End of the Spear”. Having seen Disney’s Mormon portrayal of “The Other Side of Heaven,” which never bats an eye or shirks from it’s message, I am very, very disappointed that this high quality adaptaion of the glorious miracle of God’s redemptive story is all but clear. Sadly, it can easily be mistaken for a politically correct message of humanitarians rather than love filled lives of Christian believers.

We know that Ron Howard will not apologize or hide from the controversial elements of “The DaVinci Code” when he puts it on film, why should Christians apologize for being a Christian or hide their Christianity? It is the controversy of the gospel that makes it stand out in the spiritual vacuum of the twenty first century. When God gives us a platform, it should be used for his glory!!!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
—JP, age 35
Neutral—If viewed strictly as a movie with no background, it is pretty good. As a portrayal of the lives of real people who were radically Christian, it is dismal. There is only one loose reference to Jesus. No mention is made of His substitutionary death or His resurrection. There is no mention of sin, judgment or salvation. We have no idea why the five men wanted to contact the Waodani. We have no idea why some of the indians changed. We don’t even know that the women were Christians or that the indians became Christians. In the movie, we don’t know for sure if Mincayani ever changes. In real life he became a believer early on and was a leader in the church. He was the one who baptized Steve Saint when he was 13. It is sad to see a movie that could have been so good being reduced to a humanistic story. The transforming power of Jesus Christ has been completely removed and replaced with a story of family values and non violence.

Watching the movie is a very disappointing experience. I expect this kind of political correctness from Hollywood but I expected better from the people who made this movie.
My Ratings: Good / 4
—Terry, age 52
Neutral—While this film is not perfect, its one Christians should support. It was made by Christians, and the tribe whose story is told wanted Americans to hear their tell because of the school shooting here. There are some nasty scenes with spears and the costumes of the tribe were not very modest. Also, I don’t like the idea of a luster after strange flesh being cast in the movie, but church folk go to see Johnny D., George C., Ben A. and others films all the time without thinking about their moral problems. So if you chose not to see this film based on the actor, be like some of us and do not attend those other peoples movies.

Christians were shown in a good light and showed Christ-likeness. But to the shame of the makers, the name of Jesus is not stated. Only the names, Son of God and God are used. But that’s more than “Lord of the Rings”, “Chronicles”, “X-Men” and other allegory films which Christians get so hyped up over can say. Why do we get so thrilled over allegory and let movies about great reformers, God honoring generals and missionaries go by without a thought. True this films falls short, but be faithful in the little things and God will give us better.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
—Charlie W., age 18
Neutral—My husband and I went to see the movie on Sunday and came away somewhat “hungry” as if we had just been fed a diet of watered down skim milk, when we were expecting a thick juicy rib eye steak. The movie never mentions the name of Jesus even once. As we watch a reenactment of the missionaries celebrating finding a tribe nearby, God is far from the conversations of the missionaries and their wives. There is no prayer, no references to praying, no indication that these men lead any kind of godly life.

The only gospel message, if it could be called that, is a reference to God using a Waodani word for him, that He has a son who was speared and did not spear back so “that others could live well.” That’s it. In fact, throughout the movie, I was left wondering if these tribesmen had had authentic salvation experiences or if they were merely turning their lives around in response to thier realization that they had killed the missionaries in error and were trying to rectify that.

It appears the movie was produced to appeal to a larger secular audience and in the process, disappointing Christians hoping for a dynamic story and boring or confusing unbelievers who don’t know enough of the story to fill in the storyline gaps. I can’t help thinking that if five men willingly laid down their lives to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the most deadly Amazon savages, would they think highly of a movie of their lives which so waters down the gospel out of fear of the Hollywood movie critic savages?
My Ratings: Average / 3
—Jeanne, age 46

Negative

Negative—My family travelled four hours round trip to see this film, as Jim Elliot and Nate Saint are highly regarded in our lives. How very heartbreaking this movie was. While I object to a gay activist portraying Nate, and I really was bothered by how much they changed the story as well as how they portrayed the character of Jim Elliot, especially; what got me the most was how very lightly they portrayed the faith of the five men. The deep love for the Aucas (as they were known at the time) that was cultivated in their hearts by the Spirit; the intense prayer and preparations made; the devotion to their God; the love of God that empowered the widows/families to forgive and continue to pursue the Indians' hearts. It was all but missing. The fact that the Waodoni tribe was almost completely transformed from that of “Kill, or be killed” to the place of almost no killing—because of Jesus Christ—was so poorly conveyed!

The very crucial purpose to recall this historical event, and they left HIM out!!! You cannot really tell what perspective their faith was coming from; the emphasis on true Christianity was void. These men believed that God created us and this earth, we chose to sin against him through Adam, and were in desperate need of a Savior. God sent His Son to save us from ourselves by His death and resurrection. He called us to go into the world and tell this good news to all nations. This is what those men lived and died for, and unbelieving movie-goers will hardly grasp this after encountering “End of the Spear”. My advice: Go read Elisabeth Elliot’s book Through Gates of Splendor, and you’ll get the real, fascinating story, and God will get true glory.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Kimberly Beaty, age 35
Negative—I was very disappointed by this movie. I was excited to see it, because I believe that God’s word encourages us to 'remember [our] leaders, those who spoke to [us] the word of truth. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith' (Heb. 13:7). The story of these men and women have greatly impacted my life. Through their stories, God has taught me so much about his glory, sharing in the sufferings of Christ, his goodness, obedience, and his story of how he is gathering people from every tribe, tounge, and nation to worship him. That’s why I was so sad when I saw the “End of the Spear”. Jesus is not mentioned once. The missionaries are portrayed as jokers who flipantly decide to “make contact,” and their mission seemed to be to stop the tribe from spearing each other—instead of centered around the Gospel. I hope that the real life story is unlike the movie’s portrayal. I hope that the Waodani people will stand before God covered in Christ’s righteousness and not a righteousness of 'well, we stopped spearing each other.' In short, I felt like those who produced this movie were ashamed of the Gospel and did not really believe that it is GOD who has the power to save.
My Ratings: Good / 3
—Jessica Sutherland, age 21
Negative—…Christian Movie? Evangelistic tool? Lets start this discussion by considering the star of the movie, Chad Allen. There is absolutely no credibility to an arrogant, practicing, unrepentant homosexual—or any other blatant and willful sinner being involved in sharing the gospel. This is who Chad Allen is. This is a perfect example of unequally yoking good (story of Nate Saint) with evil (actor Chad Allen) as the Bible speaks of in 2 Corinthians 6:14… Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

If an openly gay person is the front man for Christianity, God help the people whose souls will be lost by the hypocrisy of that message. Chad Allen states, and I quote It is a deep-founded, faith-based belief in God based upon the work that I’ve done growing up as a Catholic boy and then reaching out to Buddhism philosophy, to Hindu philosophy, to Native American beliefs and finally as I got through my course with addiction and alcoholism and finding a higher power that worked for me. The God of the Bible I read has no part of Buddhism, Hinduism or American Indian beliefs.

Exodus 20:3 says, Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Jeremiah 13:10 says, This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle, which is good for nothing.

Quite clearly, Chad is worshipping other gods than the One True God of the Bible. Chad Allen also says and again I quote I’m a part of a wonderful community church here in Pasadena that has a very different interpretation of those same gospels that they are speaking of. There isn’t just one way to do this, there are a lot of paths.

John 14:6 says, Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Matthew 7:13-14 says, Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

There is only one way and one path that leads to God. Unfortunately, the star of this movie is on the path that leads to hell, not God, and this is the person and the movie many churches are promoting on web pages and sermons as a good evangelistic tool. Chad Allen PROUDLY revels in his homosexuality and claims his god approves of his lifestyle. The message of the gospel in this movie is lost completely by a messenger totally opposed to Scripture. Would you invite an unrepentant, convicted pedophile to lead a youth group at your church? How about inviting an unrepentant, convicted rapist to lead single women at a church Bible study? Better still, how about an unrepentant, convicted embezzler to be the treasurer of your church? Why then an unrepentant, flaming homosexual as a star in a christian movie? How weak some people’s discernment has become.

Isaiah 5:20 says Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Does anyone know the musical melody of the Madonna song Like a Virgin? Suppose I take that same melody and put Christian words to it. If I were to play you my new song, upon hearing the opening melody, are you going to be thinking about my new words or the old melody? How similar to Chad Allen giving a Christian message. How can a person like Chad be a messenger of the Gospel or be involved in a true Christian endeavor? Until he repents, he can’t because his personal testimony has no credibility. Saul, before he became known as the Apostle Paul, was a horrible enemy of Christianity. It was not until he repented of his sin that he became a Christian and a messenger of Christ. It is impossible to look past Chads current spiritual condition and that overshadows ANY message he might give and undermines ANY Christian movie he or any other PUBLICALLY unrepentant sinner is in.

Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Titus 1:9-16 says Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

People need to open their eyes and obey God’s Word, including a lot of lukewarm so-called Christian leaders that are starting to look more and more like Scribes and Pharisees who talk the talk but do not walk the walk! The message of the Gospel is Jesus and His salvation. To understand that we need a Savior, we first must learn what we have done wrong that REQUIRES that we need a savior. Chad seems to have been exposed to the Gospel but he does not admit to his sin. THERE IS NO SALVATION for a person who does not admit his sin. Even if we admit our sin, there is still one more thing. We must repent of it. Chad has not done either.

People say we are to love the sinner, hate the sin. That is only part of what is expected of us and quiet frankly a hack job on scripture. Romans 16:17 clearly states—Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. I see nothing about embracing a willful sinner who continues to do so without repentance after receiving knowledge of the truth. We absolutely should pray for them. But we also must rebuke them until they repent. We can pray for them but we are to AVOID them until they do. If and when they do repent, then we can minister to them.

Do not confuse my words for hatred. I speak the truth of the Bible that unfortunately is not always very well received these days. A lot of churches have preached a feel good gospel that is devoid of the more harsh reality of Scripture. The bottom line is the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life. Claiming that gift is conditional and God has very clearly laid out His conditions in His Word. They are non-negotiable. We either do it His way or we go to hell.

The testimony of Nate Saints life should be shared, not sold. Now, as for the movie itself, consider this: How many times in this movie is the name of Jesus uttered? How many times do you see people pray in the name of Jesus? How many times is the Gospel proclaimed? (i.e. virgin birth, Jesus' atoning death and resurrection) How many times is sin defined and the need for repentance explained?

The answer to all of the above questions is NEVER. Without the above, where is the message of salvation? This movie is clearly not an evangelistic tool as it is being marketed as. As for people giving their lives for others, there are a lot of movies where people lay down their lives for others. That act alone does not make one Christian. Obi Wan Kenobi did it for Luke Skywalker. Does that mean Obi Wan is a Christian? And why no mention of Jesus' name in this movie? Is it too offensive? Was Steve Saint ashamed to use it? Was the production company ashamed to use it? They have no problem calling this a “christian movie” but they can’t bring themselves to say by whose name these Waodoni people were saved? We now see their true colors.

Matthew 10:33 says, But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Luke 9:26 says, For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. The Bible is clear. Acts 4:12 says, Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Romans 10:9 says, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

“End of the Spear” is no more a Christian movie than “Star Wars” is. Let us get back to God’s Word and preach the truth with all boldness and without fear! And let us do it without making a movie that doesn’t even name the name of the Lord just to make a few pieces of silver. Make no mistake, this movie may be many things but it is NOT about Jesus Christ. When other so-called Christians say it is, their dishonesty severely diminishes their testimony and their credibility and it give TRUE Christians a bad rap. One final message for Steve Saint.

Matthew 6:24 says No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and money. Praise JESUS from whom all blessing flow! Go to church, not a movie to learn about Jesus.
My Ratings: Offensive / 3
—Carl, age 42
Negative—…It is also important to note, this is an independent production that was funded by Every Tribe Entertainment. It is not a Hollywood film, and has no connection to Hollywood money. Christians birthed and produced this film to put forth their own ideals. It is a wonderful theory and one that more Christians with talent and skill should endeavor to do. Waiting for “Hollywood to finally get the idea” is not going to produce truly good artistic films that have a Christian World view. When Christians become simply a “Demographic,” Not only are we missing the point of Christianity, we are handed films like 'The Fighting Temptations.'

It was beautifully shot and edited. Everything is gorgeous to look at. (My compliments to Robert Driskell and Miles Hanon). The rest of the film is mainly a dramatized documentary with disjointed sparks of emotion. Many Christians who know and love this story will miss this fact, because their ultra familiarity with the story and it’s emotion will fill in the large gaps where there just isn’t enough of anything to make a real connection between the events and the characters emotions. The film also tries to be about Mincayani, but then fights itself not to be about Steve Saint. As it tries to be the missionary version of “Changing Lanes,” what we get is simply a cataloging of events.

Prior to this film we have had a slew of excellent movies that happen to have Christian’s heavily involved in the story creations. This gave us Christian themes within these films that were great pieces of art to begin with. Movies like The Passion, Lord of the Rings, Narnia and Emily Rose are challenging, and encouraging because of their Christian message, but are loved even outside the church because they are great movies with great stories. This movie may mark the end of this cycle, Great Movies with a Christian Message, and the beginning of Christian Movies for the Christian demographic. (May “The Second Chance” prove me wrong.) “End of the Spear” is not a terrible film, but it’s not a really good film either. Unfortunately, just as adding an unclothed woman to a mediocre film, will put it on the top picks of unrestraining men, adding a Christian message to a mediocre film will excite the church going crowd. As their pulse races with the thought of a “Christian Movie” the rest of the world will just see it for what it is, an ok film.

The saddest thing about this is my fear that the criticism will not be 'Why package such a compelling story in such a half hearted movie?' but 'How come no one said that He is no fool who gives up what he can’t keep thing?'

Is it good for kids? There have been adjustments made for family audiences. The native women have been given native style bra/tops, though the men still wear the jungle thongs. There is a lot of killing and talk of killing. The thought of these things are more shocking in theory than the pictures on the screen. (The first massacre scene is a bit to well lit and staged.) Killing and false beliefs are shown in a incorrect light, but some kids may not be able to comprehend the points made.…

What about Spiritual issues? There are many. The thrust of it all is that the tribe believe in a “Great Boa” who they need to “jump” to enter the afterlife and not be turned to termites for eternity. They also believe that they gain strength for the family to jump by spearing other people. The more they spear, the better the family jumps. The missionaries believe in a God that teaches not to spear. He gives a path to walk and has marked his path so we can follow. There are also statements to let us know that the missionaries are friends with this God and that the God has a son. (Spoiler) At the end of the movie we find out that after Mincayani speared Nick Saint, both men saw a vision of one who 'jumped the Great Boa but then lived.'

The other theme of the film seems to be self-sacrifice and the giving of your life. This is done literally and figuratively throughout the events in the jungle.

…If you are very excited about these people and this story, you may still enjoy seeing these events played out for you. Other than that, its nothing to rush out for. I think this film is doomed to an eternal run as part of a multi-media sermon illustration or an easy lesson plan for the Youth Pastor. If you are interested in this story, but not in spending seven dollars to be mildly impressed with the shot structure, I would suggest “Beyond the Gates of Splendor.” It is a compelling documentary, made by the same people, about the same events. This is still a cataloging of events, but its a documentary, so its supposed to be like that. You also get to see the real people and see a bit of their real lives. You can even rent “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” at most places like Blockbuster.
My Ratings: Good / 3
—Christopher Ouellette, age 31

Comments from young people

Positive—This is an amazing film. I was quite surprised at the production quality, seeing as it is a Christian story. The scene where the missionaries are killed is quite graphic. Not really in a gory way, because there are many movies I’ve seen before that were more graphic. But, the way the slow motion is done, and the way it’s edited—very intense. Go see this movie, it’s amazing. On opening day there were maybe three other people in the theater. Quite sad that it’s not doing better. But, it’s worthwhile to go see it.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
—David Demeusy, age 17
Positive—…Steve Saint, the missionary’s young son portrayed in the movie, is my uncle, so I am very familiar with this story. The movie does true justice to the story of the five men. While not overly evangelical, the story offers a message of forgiveness and redemption through God’s grace. I highly recommend it for teenagers and adults. It may be too intense for young children, seeing as how the spearing in the movie would be disturbing. Many days and weeks of prayer have been put into the making of this film, it is truely a touching story that is encouraging to Christians, and can offer a hook for non-Christians. Go see this movie, it is an A+
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Rachel Olson, age 14
Positive—I saw this movie with my best friend, Maria, last Sunday. This was one of the most amazing and well-directed movies I have ever seen save for “Passion of the Christ.” I had heard the story from the actual Mincayani about three years previous at a Steven Curtis Chapman Concert. Therefore, I was very excited to watch the story as a film. The film making quality was exquisite while the music added the flow and intensity of mission movies. Again I was touched at the influential perserverance of the missionaries to spread the gospel to such a primitive and violent people. The acting by the Waodani people was so heartfelt, especially Kimo’s change into Christianity halfway into the movie. I loved how easily you can see th serenity growing on his face and the pure faith in his eyes. Overall, this is an A+++ movie, and though it contains a little gore, it is appropriate to the film’s theme. I would recommend this movie to all teens and adult, but not so much for small children, since the spearings may prove frightening. See this movie, it is worth the money and so much more.…
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
—Chelsey, age 14