Cloud Ten Pictures // 2008 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 19th, 2009
Some see it. Some don't.
Cloud Ten, one of the big players in the Christian movie market, pump out their latest Godly tale, a story about a grizzled old treasure-hunting fart and the bond he forms with the blind grandson he never knew he had. All the pieces are in place for a sentimental saga about love and life and family and so on and so forth. Does Treasure Blind strike gold?
Nah, more like cubic zirconia. Anyway, Cliff Edwards (Brian Shoop) spends his days driving a cab and looking for lost Civil War gold. His life is a shallow affair and his relationships with others are unfulfilling and empty. One day, a strange woman drops off a blind boy named Henry (Daniel Brookshire) at his house and informs him it's his grandson. What's a relatively useless shlub like Cliff supposed to do now? Why, ignore him no matter how sweet and needy the poor kid is!
Eventually, Henry's deadbeat dad (Cliff's son) shows up, and the three Edwards boys attempt to forge a family unit. Unfortunately, Dad is burdened with crushing gambling debt and a group of enforcers have hit town looking to collect. If that means they're heading back to Vegas with a bag full of Civil War booty, so be it.
The last few Christian movies I've reviewed haven't been too bad. Fireproof, though uneven and sometimes overbearing, represented a significant step in the right direction for faith-filled moves on the road to respectability, and Ving Rhames's Saving God was genuinely good. With Treasure Blind the genre takes a step back.
But first, props to young Daniel Brookshire, who really is blind. He's a lovable kid, packed with energy and instantly becomes the charismatic center of any scene he's in. His dialogue can get a bit grating, specifically the praise and worship songs he belts out at top volume in the taxicab, but I'm going to pin that misstep on writer/director Brian Shoop.
Then again, maybe Daniel is supposed to pump up the volume to counteract the flat-line presence of Shoop as Cliff Edwards, whose energy level hovers somewhere around 0 degrees Kelvin. The guy mopes around for the majority of the runtime (until the end when he has the requisite epiphany and shouts out desperate pleas to God) and is laughably aloof towards his grandson. I mean really, how much of a lame-ass do you have to be to give a nice little blind boy the cold shoulder? Take this exchange for example:
Henry: "Friends tell each other secrets. Does that mean we're
Grandpa of the year anyone? Obviously, the guy warms up to the kid, just in time for those Las Vegas villains to show up and start screwing around, which propels Cliff into the realization that there is more to life that driving a taxi and searching for buried treasure and God loves him even if he deserved to be kicked in the groin for his treatment of his grandson. Speaking of the Civil War, a large portion of the movie is dedicated to a flashback to the 1800s, where we see the soldiers and their gold-burying shenanigans. It's not very involving.
On top of all this are a handful of embarrassing moments like how everyone in the movie apparently reads newspapers out loud and to themselves, or the cop that kicks the crap out of Cliff, drops him on the ground and cuffs him in front of his grandson because he was two months late on his rent, and the news broadcast about Cliff and Henry's search for the gold where the anchor describes them as "handicapped hunters."
The DVD: a soft 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer backed by a hollow
stereo audio mix. Extras are more robust, featuring a series of well-executed
making-of featurettes, a bunch of deleted scenes (that are confusingly strung
together) and trailers.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Cloud Ten Pictures
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Spanish)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Deleted Scenes