Sunday, March 24, 2013

"Abel's Field": A teenage boy, saddled with raising two little sisters, finds personal salvation from an ex-con

Some “Christian” films are actually good. “Abel’s Field”, by Gordie Kaakstad, follows the conventions of screenwriting (Aron Flasher) by piling on the crises for its likable teenage boy hero Seth (Samuel Davis), and makes you wonder how he can possibly solve all the problems thrown on his shoulders.
Seth, 17, is supposed to be a high school senior in a Texas town, and was kicked off the football team after he was overburdened with taking care of two seven year-old twin sisters after his deadbeat dad left.  A distant brother and oil worker Keith (Joe Ward) renounces any responsibility and says that therid dad created families and left them. Also Seth’s mother died tragically at 35, apparently from cancer.

Right off the bat, we have a common theme that doesn’t get discussed openly by policymakers.  People often have to raise children that they didn’t “choose” to have by performing heterosexual intercourse.  Older kids sometimes have to raise siblings, and sometimes (as in “Raising Helen”) people raise siblings’ kids after family tragedies.  Why don't we point out this explicit problem more often?  This ought to play much more explicitly into the “family values” debate than it usually does.  In fact, a few states have filial responsibility laws drawn up to require adults to support impoverished siblings as well as parents.

The story is set in motion by two other major characters.  Richard Dillard plays the authoritarian football coach Chalmers (“I am the football coach, so I am God”), and he still has the authority to get Seth expelled when he fights back after a football player bullies him in the hallways.  The film could go into why the bullying occurs but doesn’t.

Seth makes do by working as an auto mechanic (he’s very good at it) and in fast food.  To punish Seth, the coach makes him work in detention for an itinerant contractor Abel  (Kevin Sorbo), rebuilding the watering and drainage system for the football field before the fall homecoming game. 

Abel gradually becomes Seth’s spiritual mentor, but then we learn that Abel has a very troubled past himself, possibly criminal.

Seth has almost “perfect 10” looks (although we never see him without full shirt and trousers), and he seems too clean cut for the situation.  

Seth would be able to inherit his parents’ house, but is unable to pay the enormous past due liens on it, that his irresponsible dad ratcheted up, so he faces inevitable foreclosure (very easy under Texas law) and eviction (with his dependent little sisters).  There is a sequence where he is “tempted” into theft to get out of the problem, and that becomes a test for the screenwriter. 

Abel also has a book of drawings.  It’s rather curious that, at the end of the him, he doesn’t need his own artwork any more.  It’s about people?  That part I had trouble believing.
The official site is here. Notice Seth’s “looks”. 

The 2012 film is available on a rather inexpensive DVD, or can be rented on YouTube for $3.99.  The distributor is Sony Affirm and Sony TriStar.

The film was shot in Thall, Texas, a small town east of Austin.  I may have driven through it in November 2011, when I went to Bastrop to look at the wildfire damage. Even thought the film is new to distribution, the technology shown looks 80s-like; I don't recall seeing PC's or smart phones.  

Compare this film particularly to "The Conrad Boys: (Dec. 12, 2008). 

The DVD has a 23-minute short “Behind the Scenes” by Hussain Parina.  There is a sequence where the method of painting the multiple tattoos onto the bod of Kein Sorbo is demonstrated.  Kevin complains about the partial upper chest shaving. 
The director considers the film homage to the values of his own father. 

1 comment:

Del @ Blogger Gateway said...

Seeking faith-based blog reviewers for BREAK AWAY DVD (new Christian movie)

Discovering your website this weekend, I am interested in knowing how I may submit a new Christian movie on DVD for your review.

Please review the following information and let me know by next Thursday, (3/28/13) if you are interested. I recently discovered product review of Abel's Field on your website, so this DVD seems like a great fit.

Break Away DVD
Releases April 23, 2013

This inspirational film comes from the makers of "Faith Like Potatoes" and "Journey to Grace".

BREAK AWAY synopsis:

Francois is a hard-working husband and dad that gets laid off from his job. None of his efforts to get another job succeed, and he is forced to use what he has, including an old bicycle, in order to provide for his family. With the help of his "black sheep" brother, a bicycle shop owner and a pro-cyclist, Francois makes some life-changing discoveries about his life, career and faith in God.

Although a fictional story, BREAK AWAY, was inspired by true events around the recession that left people without work. The message brings hope and offers practical and Biblical solutions in a very entertaining way.

Watch the trailer, and learn more about the film:
Break Away YouTube:
Word Films YouTube:
Word Films Facebook:
Word Films Twitter:
Word Films Website:
Dove Review:

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to your reply.

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