This past weekend I saw "Reign Over Me," a big-budget film that's got an indie feel. Now ... what do I mean by that?
Well, thanks to a big budget, the stars are box-office draws (Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Jada Pinkett-Smith). The look is crisp and clear. The sets are first-rate. And the locations are expansive and intricately detailed. You can tell someone's coughed up some change to make a pretty picture.
In terms of indie, "Reign Over Me" is all about the dialogue and character interaction – something you don't too often see in a big production. There are no stunts or special effects (well, maybe except for the body doubles on the super-cool scooter). Characters have quirks. The storyline makes you think and provokes discussion. And there's no neat and tidy resolution by film's end.
Now I wouldn't recommend this film to everyone due to its "R" rating. But thankfully, it's not a hard "R." Language and sexual references are the culprits. But they didn't have to be. The film could have still been credible without all the hoo-ha of casual (and not so casual) cursing and an inappropriate sexual situation.
But beyond what garnered its rating, "Reign Over Me" is really about finding connection in a world that encourages individualism and isolation. Connection between friends. Connection between husband and wife. Becoming vulnerable, loving one another and bearing each other's burdens.
While the characters don't seek answers from God or ask for His healing and direction in their lives, they do reach out to each other – which is still a good thing and biblical. One friend grieves a significant loss that has left him in an altered state. While the other friend doesn't fully understand the complexity of these issues, that doesn't stop him from trying to get his friend some professional help which leads to a small breakthrough.
A subplot of a husband and wife shows that the co-habitating couple have no real fellowship or communion. It takes the pain of a friend to bring their marital relationship's inadequacies to light. But by "Reign"'s conclusion, they are beginning the restoration process.
In a cinematic world that seems to offer fewer and fewer films with any meaningful – let alone relatable – messages these days, "Reign Over Me" stands apart. I'm glad I saw it.
Click here for a full review.