I don't like most Christian films because of two reasons: they are usually overly preachy and they are almost never of any cinematic quality. As such, I had no plans to see "The Case for Christ" until I saw that it had an 83 on Rotten Tomatoes. It was based on six critics, so I took it with a grain of salt, but I had to do my own investigation, if you will, and see for myself.
The writing of this film is slightly above average. The first twenty minutes are written like the run-of-the-mill Christian drama. It's preachy and cheesy, and the dialogue doesn't feel natural at all. After that, though, the film gets into a rhythm and begins to feel like an investigative journalism film. The use of the parallel secondary storyline was quite interesting and worked both to keep consistent interest from the audience and foreshadow the main storyline. Yes, there were moments throughout that were cheesy and melodramatic, including the ending, but these moments are sadly unavoidable in a film of this nature, so they are redeemed by the rest of the storyline.
The film was actually a lot more well-made than I expected. It was very competently shot. Instead of functioning solely to capture a sermon-like story, the cinematography is used as a method of visual storytelling. It makes the film look professional as opposed to cheap, and there are even some shots used to symbolic effect. The production design is also very good, working to periodize the film very well. I thought that the lead actor, Mike Vogel, did a good job as the protagonist, really nailing the emotional scenes in the film. The rest of the cast is good for the most part, but has a few moments that feel artificial.
Overall, I think that "The Case for Christ" was a Christian film that was actually decent. Its writing was somewhat above average and its filmmaking was definitely above average. It does more than just serve its purpose to inspire. I'm not saying that it's going to convert skeptics, because it won't, but if you are a Christian, even if you don't usually like faith-driven films, you may want to give it a shot.
The Case for Christ
Big Tuna's Rating: B-
How Did I Watch It?: In theaters.
Had I Seen It Before?: No.
Would I Watch It Again?: Maybe.
I am a huge movie fan that wants to tell people about my very varying taste and opinion of film.