Reviewed by: Brad D. Francis
|Featuring||Kim Basinger, Rufus Sewell, Angela Bettis, Jimmy Smits, Christina Ricci|
Refreshing. That’s my initial response after coming out of the theater from seeing “Bless the Child”. It was refreshing to see issues such as spiritual warfare, the existence and power of Satan and Christianity in general treated on screen with respect, and even a large degree of accuracy.
“Bless the Child” centers in on Maggie O’Connor (Kim Basinger) a divorcee who is forced to become the caretaker for her druggie sister’s newborn baby, Cody (played with talent at age six by Holliston Coleman). Maggie soon realizes that her niece is special, and the diagnosis made is relatively mild autism. But there’s definitely something more than that. Cody begins to exhibit supernatural powers, from spinning a plate without touching it to resurrecting a dead bird.
Meanwhile, there’s a child killing spree going on in New York City (where the bulk of the movie takes place) and FBI Special Agent John Travis (Jimmy Smits, showing his acting ability as he goes from playing an NYPD officer to playing an FBI agent that merely works with the NYPD) has been called in on the case. He identifies various cult symbols and realizes that it all comes down the night before Easter. He gets acquainted with Maggie when her “recovered” sister shows up with her new husband and takes Cody away. It becomes evident that all the murdered children were simply an attempt to find Cody (and a reference is made to all the children Herod had slaughtered while looking for baby Jesus).
This is an exciting movie with relatively mild language (for an R-rated film), no sex or nudity, but an abundance of violence. People are killed many ways, from decapitation to shooting. [ScreenIt.com reports “several lethal and bloody/gory acts (people shot to death, another one stabbed in both eyes with knitting needles, a person set on fire, a person is decapitated, off screen murders of children)”] In addition, drug use is prominent although never in a positive light.
The best thing I found in the movie was its portrayal of spiritual warfare as real and relevant. Angels help the good guys, and we sometimes get a view of demons around the bad. At one point, people in the theater actually applauded as little Cory withstands the demonic temptation of the main villain, Eric (Rufus Sewell), in a scene purposefully reminiscent of Jesus’ wilderness temptation.
I enjoyed this movie. I found it exciting, and I just hope the moviegoers realize that the angelic and demonic forces clashing here is very real. Both sides are presented with real power, but the writers here know who is more powerful as much as we do. Unless the violence and language dissuades you, I recommend “Bless the Child” as a good thriller. A refreshing thriller.