Judge Daryl Loomis has a habit of letting everything go to voice mail.
Sometimes, the pull of the world gets in the way of God.
I'm not a religious person by any means, but unlike some more self-righteous atheists out there, so long as somebody doesn't hurt anybody or infringe on other's rights to believe or not how they see fit, I really don't care how they observe their faith. I understand, though, the sacrifice it takes for a person to forgo his or her old life and dedicate a new life to the study and worship of a faith. Moreover, I respect it as a mostly noble pursuit that takes an immense amount of stamina.
In his documentary, The Calling, director David Ranghelli profiles three such individuals. Orlando Castillo is young and convinced that his life belongs to God so, despite his wealthy upbringing and the reservation of his parents, begins the process to enter the monastery. Father Phillip Scott, an older leader of the faith, returns to his native Peru to found the Family of Jesus: Healer religious community. Mother Mary-Elizabeth was once a wife and mother, but gave all that up to join the convent and marry into the faith. Now, even though it's been years, the needs of her children and grandchildren try to pull her away from her commitment.
Together, these three stories make for a quiet and contemplative narrative that never preaches the faith for a second. Instead, Ranghelli simply profiles these individuals making extremely difficult choices, and that illumination is all the movie needs to succeed. It doesn't make a huge impact, but it's a sweet message that makes a lot of sense. It isn't a particularly stylish film, but the statement is what's important here and Ranghelli gets that across just fine. It isn't anything that I plan to go back to any time soon, but it succeeds in what it tries to do.
The Calling comes to us from Pleasant Pictures as a screener, but this version appears at least close to the final product. Unfortunately, that means that the film is a non-anamorphic transfer that looks fairly cheap. There is some blocking and aliasing here and there, but the colors are mostly strong. There's just a general lack of sharpness, overall. The sound is a little better, with a noise-free stereo mix that has little separation, but is always easy enough to understand. There are two cuts of the film on the disc, an hour cut and one that's about fifteen minutes longer, which is what I reviewed. Additionally, we have three deleted scenes that last about twenty minutes and a photo gallery, all given introductions from the director.
The Calling is a great movie to show church youth groups and people considering a career and life in the faith. As a documentary, though, there's little in the way of entertainment value and, with the subpar disc, it's fairly hard to recommend the film to wider audiences.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Pleasant Avenue Pictures
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