Tuesday, September 09, 2014

"The Remaining Resources" offers a more graphic version of the "Rapture" than "Leftovers" (or even Duchovny's 1991 film on the topic)

  

The Remaining”, by Casey La Scala, is a new film from Sony Affirm, that makes a rather lightweight argument for faith in the midst of horrific events surrounding the rapture.  This is mostly horror, almost of the “Legion” variety (with a bit of “Skyline”).  The movie was shot in Wilmington, NC, with a climactic scene near a drawbridge over a sound near US-17, over which I drove once in 1993.  The University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNC) film school helped produce the film, so some of the credits are probably for students. OK, I could say this is the first “Christian horror” film that I have seen.

The film begins with a glitzy wedding scene, that might have fit into ABC’s “Revenge”.  It also reminded me of the first half of “Melancholia” (the latter being a much better film, Nov. 21, 2011).  In all the merriment, that is supposed to lead to wedding night consummation (in a Christian world where people avoid any sexuality before marriage), some people get on an elevator in the atrium of the hotel hosting the event.  (I guess there’s such a place in Wilmington, right on the shore, in the path of hurricanes.)  Suddenly, both members of an older couple (parents) drop dead, then do some other people.  In the atrium, maybe a third of the people have dropped.  In all the panic, it takes a while to figure out that this is “The Rapture”. In fact, that was the title of a famous 1991 film by Michael Tolkin with David Duchovny and Mimi Rogers, where things happen more gradually (but wind up with a prison let-out). 
  
Indeed, the heavens descend.  There are tornadoes, earthquakes, and hail, and then the demons at night sweep down like aliens and snatch unbelievers and dispatch them.  These fallen angels are a lot more sinister than “Friday’s Aliens”.  Most of the good kids (Johnny Picar, Shaun Sipos, Bryan Delchart and Alexa Pena Vega) flee to a church, which gets attacked.  There is a pastor who decides he had to become a real pastor and show real faith, which he realizes he never had.  One of the kids has been running around videotaping everything, Cloverfield-style, so the movie has the edge of hand-held, dogme filmmaking (no doubt taught at UNC). 
  
The movie differs from the HBO series “The Leftovers” (TV blog, July 1, 2014) in that the bodies of the “raptured” to remain on earth as corpses, and the movie also differs in that it presents the immediate aftermath of the global catastrophe. (To be honest, the HBO show never explicitly explains that the disappeared people were "raptured" although it makes a lot of the "Guilty Remnant".) Amazingly, the power and Internet function well enough for the government to broadcast emergency messages (like in “Goodbye World”, here Aug. 21), and chase everyone to that military triage center where, at the very end, everybody is fodder for the “devil tornadoes”.  There is a good theological question as to whether those that “remain” (that means, “got detention” in middle school) can be saved if they demonstrate faith during the coming Tribulations.
  
When I lived in Dallas in the 1980s, I heard a lot about “The Rapture”, even from Rev, Don Eastman one Sunday night at MCC in early 1983.  On the radio (often on when I “drove friendly” all over the state) pastors would carry on the “pre-Tribulation” vs. “post-Tribulation” rapture. 
  
  
The official site calls the film “The Remaining Resources”, here

I saw this film at the AMC Tysons in northern Virginia. 

Wikipedia attribution link of the shot of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge is here.   That does bring to mind the 1991 film “Cape Fear”, by Martin Scorsese (Universal, actually shown at Tribeca) with Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte, where an released prisoner stalks the family of the lawyer who had defended him unsuccessfully.  There is a bit of rapture even in this concept.  I recall seeing that film at the Shirlington more than 20 years ago.  

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