Monday, February 18, 2019

Jesus' Teaching on Love beyond Morality in Human Relations: The film "Forsaken" Falls Short

In an interview on the film, Forsaken (2015), Kiefer Sutherland remarks that the film is black and white in terms of the bad and the good guys. In other words, the film is a classic western. James McCurdy wears the “black” hat, while Rev. Samuel Clayton, played by Donald Sutherland, wears the “white” one (even though his clergy-wear is entirely black).  However, Samuel is hardly very nice, or forgiving, to his son at first. 

On the other side of the dichotomy, Brian Cox, who played McCurdy, said in an interview that his character has the virtue of business sense in that the man buys up area farms, albeit by ruthless means, because he anticipates that the anticipated railroad would drive up land prices. Nevertheless, that McCurdy is willing to take the risk does not justify killing farmers who refuse to be bought out. Michael Wincott, who played Dave Turner—McCurdy’s hired hand, said in an interview that he didn’t see McCurdy as at all grey; rather, his own character and John Henry Clayton, the reverend’s son, are grey in that both try to resist killing; they both know better and attempt to resist the temptation. Even such nuances from the traditional “black and white” western do not go far enough in describing the de facto religious complexity in John Henry. In fact, the screenwriters did not go far enough to capture a truly Christian response to even one’s enemies. Hence I submit that the film gives a superficial gloss that belies just how far a Christian much go to follow the teachings of Jesus.

The full essay is at "Forsaken."