2. Two Famous Actors Playing against Type
Matt Dillon and Jim Caviezel lead this cast of relative unknowns and newcomers. Based on their previous roles, you’d expect Dillon to play the bad guy and Caviezel to play a good guy. But in fact, it’s just the opposite.
Dillon has built a decades-long career off of edgy films (from dramas to comedies to indies) in which he’s played either the heavy or a morally-compromised lead, but here he’s the story’s altruistic ideal. As a physician who cares for the working poor, Dillon’s “Doc” moves to Hawaii in 1919 following the outbreak of several diseases, most prominently the Spanish flu.
In addition, he takes in an orphaned boy under his wing (that’s Jo), raising him not only as an apprentice, but also a son, wanting to adopt Jo, but fighting for years through bureaucratic and cultural barriers. Dillon imbues “Doc” with the sort of passion and conviction you’d expect from a character who dedicates his life to helping the marginalized at an outpost in the middle of the Pacific at the turn of the century.
Then there’s Caviezel, an actor who’s sought out characters and stories that reflect his own Christian worldview and values, most notably the role of Jesus, Himself, in The Passion of the Christ. This time, however, Caviezel plays the daunting villain, the figure that the story’s hero must stand up to and overcome. He’s Reyes, a competing, scheming, and opportunistic physician who comes between Jo and Grace in more ways than one. Reyes has no redeeming qualities, marking a stark departure for Caviezel, but the film’s message and themes fit squarely into his professional ethos.
Photo Courtesy: Blue Fox Entertainment