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Around the Bend

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 Jan
Around the Bend
from Film Forum, 11/04/04

Writer–director Jordan Roberts made the movie Around the Bend as a way of exploring part of his own experience—his relationship with his estranged father. The movie, which stars Christopher Walken, Josh Lucas, and Michael Caine, thus becomes a variation on the story of the prodigal son, which has religious press critics busy discussing its subtext. The story concerns men of four generations who suddenly come to a reckoning about their family history.

Harry Forbes (Catholic News Service) says, "On the whole, this is a lovely, small–scale film that holds your interest throughout its 85 minutes. The performances are predictably fine. Jordan Roberts … has written a script that doesn't always avoid cliché, and though for the most part the film successfully avoids cheap sentiment, there are some occasional lapses."

Darrel Manson (Hollywood Jesus) also compares the narrative to the parable of the prodigal, and concludes, "Around the Bend reminds us that the pains and animosities that we harbor in our lives do not have to stay there."

At the same site, Elisabeth Leitch writes that the story "is both unique and powerful in that it is so real. It portrays a journey of self–discovery and healing, but it refuses to do so through fake monologues and sappy emotional confessions that occur only in the movies."

Whether or not mainstream critics note the film's echoes of Christ's parable, they're not too impressed with the film itself.