The premise is loaded to the brim with potential and promise but the film’s execution remains lacking.
Released on August 25, 2017, All Saints stars John Corbett (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Northern Exposure) as the former salesman who became a pastor in the true story of Michael Spurlock. Spurlock is tasked with transitioning a ‘failing’ church into a big box retail store. His duties consist of conducting services for the short time the church has left and to assist the businessmen assessing the location for retail transformation.
All seems to be going according to plan until Spurlock says he has heard God speak to him. After speaking with Karen (kuh –REN) refugees from Burma who have found their way to his church by way of a flyer, Spurlock affirms the belief that his appointment as the All Saints Church pastor involves more than what was originally planned. Escaping the chaos of a civil war, the Karen farmers grow in number at the church. Facing an impending eviction on the part of the wider church, Spurlock decides to try to incorporate the farmers’ abilities to farm the church property to bring in enough income to keep up with the mortgage payments that have been harder and harder to meet due to the dwindling numbers of church attendees. The farm’s crops would also serve as food for the refugees who are struggling to adjust to a new culture and environment.
Spurlock does all this against the wishes of the church administration who grudgingly allow him to see his idea through. Against coming storms and heat that threaten the crops, the efforts of the small country church seemed destined to fail, but after seeing the efforts of Spurlock’s inspiration and the community of believers that have grown from those efforts, the church administration decides to let the church remain as a mission outpost.
The story is good, and endearing in its earnestness. The acting is hard to watch in many areas. Corbett’s portrayal of a pastor inspired by God is full of several cringe-inducing scenes. He acts more like a spoiled child than a man in relationship with God, and that angle might not play so poorly in the right context but Corbett’s version of Spurlock acts like a little boy in front of his own little boy. At one point, Corbett portrays Spurlock as jealous of his son for hanging out with one of the refugees. It reads awkwardly and seems totally inconsistent with scriptural literacy and culturally church informed faith. Although it’s not a movie to recommend, the story is worth researching. The photographs of the real Michael Spurlock, All Saints church members, and the Karen refugees at the end credits speak more authentically and interestingly than the caricatures the film presents.
Nick Murillo graduated from Paris High School in 2001 and went on to graduate from the University of North Texas in 2005 with an undergraduate degree in Literature. He later completed his Master’s degree in 2011 in Secondary Education: Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A & M Commerce. He works professionally as an educator and in his spare time works as a freelance writer.
Article Written By Nick Murillo
eParisExtra.com Movie Reviewer