Sunday Afternoon Bookworm: Video Review: The Runner from Ravenshead (Little Crew Studios)
Originally published on The Biblical Bookshelf.
Many allegories either have a strong story with a weak application, or a strong application with an anemic story that does all your thinking for you. The Runner from Ravenshead is one of those rare exceptions. The engaging story is enjoyable on its own merits. And the allegory could be interpreted on several levels—on one level, as a story of salvation, and on another, as a picture of the trials those who are already Christians face on an ongoing basis.
All on-screen roles are performed by the five siblings whose parents wrote, produced, and directed the film. Their acting is convincing. Each child played more than one part, so it takes the first quarter of the film to really establish each character. Especially for children, and even more for children in their first film, the actors do an incredible job portraying a wide range of emotions, from despair to frustration to embarrassment to joy. (It hurts nothing that what another reviewer aptly termed “the cute factor” is through the roof.)
Oregon’s diverse and breathtaking scenery, a majestic score recorded by the Prague FILMharmonic Orchestra, and the acting make the film feel more like a major-budget Hollywood production than a tiny independent film produced on a shoestring budget.
Songs and scripts written by adults for children frequently sound more like something an adult wants a child to say than something a child would naturally say. With one brief exception, the script was exceptionally well-adapted to the age and ability of the actors. Not that it’s childish; it’s childlike. And the truth gets through; the film’s most memorable moment, other than the closing scene, is an exchange in which a sell-out in league with the bad guys challenges one of the good guys for granting mercy, and the necessity of mercy is expressed in a clear and simply beautiful way.
Virtually all films, Christian or secular, have either a weak storyline, a weak presentation (due to acting, production, or both), or weak morals. The Runner from Ravenshead is one of those rare exceptions; despite a few minor goofs, it receives an unqualified recommendation. This film receives five stars and is worthy of including on the Biblical Bookshelf.