Sony // 1999 // 89 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // January 12th, 2010
The world is looking for the missing.
The Moment After is a Biblical thriller from 1999 that attempts to dramatize what the Rapture might look when it comes along. It takes the idea there will be an instant when saved Christians are swept up into Heaven in "the twinkling of an eye" leaving the rest of the world behind. It's an interesting premise for a thriller, and it's fun to see a world where Jewish people, New Age believers, and general heathens are left scratching their heads wondering why a pile of clothes are left where their friends and family once stood. But surprisingly in this narrative only two FBI agents lead a laid-back investigation of why millions have simply vanished. It's a low-rent X-Files with a "you better believe" message with one agent starting to have faith while the other doubts. We get story after story of eyewitness accounts where Christians become "beautiful lights" and then go somewhere else to everyone's horror. Usually that person has some regret that they never turned to God or went to church.
The Moment After was a passionate evangelical mission of lead actor David A.R. White who got his start on the Burt Reynolds sitcom Evening Shade. This was the first of a series of films he helped produce which are currently getting released on DVD by Sony. A partner of David's is also his costar, Kevin Downes who was known for making country music videos. Director Wes Llewellyn was also a producer involved in making this and several movies afterwards. This team has supplied quite a few Christian movies with small budgets and lofty aspirations, and this was their genesis.
It is a movie made by Christians for Christians, and it has a religious zeal some will find off-putting. It's also an independently funded picture made for less than a quarter of a million dollars, so the special effects are not quite up to par. It's a Sunday school thrill ride on a collection plate budget. I can't fault the acting or even the direction, because it has the right tone and plays everything deadly serious which is the appropriate choice. The Moment After will play well with the intended audience, and the rest will find it preachy and offensive. My Jewish and Hindu friends would probably throw things at the screen when the lead character clutches a Bible during a dark and stormy night with a sappy Christian rock anthem playing in the background. But for the fervently faithful it's an image they might cheer. Can you fault a film for playing to its audience?
The DVD presentation for The Moment After is a solid offering that fans will find well appointed. The transfer makes the age of the film look more recent with crisp colors and nice saturation. It does have a wash of grain, but there's hardly a nick or scratch to be found. You'll spot the '90s hairdos, but otherwise it looks great. There are two commentaries offered including a turn with the director and his wife who helped author the script, and then a round with the two lead actors. Both commentaries reveal how the film was made on a wing and a prayer using everything they could get for free. I really appreciated the insights and anecdotes offered on both tracks which sound like they were recorded rather recently in conjunction with release of some of the team's newer films.
I can't fault The Moment After for much because it is a Christian independent film that does exactly what it sets out to do. The Rapture makes for an interesting subject for a thriller, and the right audience should find this compelling and thought-provoking. The DVD transfer is great, and it has two wonderful commentaries that offer everything you possibly want to know about the film and its production. It's a nice solid effort that gets good treatment on DVD. Whether or not you enjoy The Moment After largely depends on how much faith you have, and how evangelical you feel about it.
Not guilty of avoiding a message, The Moment After is free to go on
entertaining Sunday school classes.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Portuguese)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 1999
MPAA Rating: Not Rated