With Indivisible. does this marriage of war and faith-based genres finds its voice (and meaning) in this cinematic telling or does it flounder in trying to find its message (point) across in a theatrical presentation?
Synopsis: INDIVISIBLE is the extraordinary true story of Army Chaplain Darren Turner and his wife Heather. When war etches battle scars on their hearts, they face one more battle: the fight to save their marriage. One marriage, one family, under God. (IMDB)
Starring: Justin Bruening, Sarah Drew, and Jason George
Writers: David G. Evans, Cheryl McKay. and Peter White
Director: David G. Evans
Rating: PG-13 (United States)
Running Time: 119mins
Perhaps one of the more remarkable things about Indivisible is that the movie is based on a true story. Having a real-life foundation to build upon is always a good thing, which does make Indivisible quite an endearing feature to watch. However, Evans delivers some character moments as well. In addition to directing, Evans also co-wrote the film’s script. Countless other movies have tackled the more modern-day “War in Iraq” and the soldiers in both during the war and their return home. Naturally, this goes into shedding light upon PTSD and how it affects soldiers returning home from war.
Like the actual condition, Evans does present a straightforward answer to the PTSD, showing conflict with the Turner household as Darren (Justin Bruening) wrestles with his grief and begins to speculate on the vitality of God. Evans also delves into the lives of military wives, seeing Heather Turner (Sarah Drew) pressing forward as a single parent of dealing with normal day things as well as trying to be a life support for others like her in the community. Together, Evans crafts Indivisible in a way that’s quite insightful, moving, and sincere all wrapped up together in a feature film. Of course, the movie will tug on your heartstrings though it doesn’t feel manufactured but feels genuine, especially given the subject matter and the film adheres to that message, presenting a tale of faith, loss, and redemption.
Looking beyond the narrative, Indivisible’s production value is another positive for the movie. While the film won’t garner any nominations, the movie does have a certain wholesome feel that definitely feels appropriate and good. The efforts made by the production design, set decorations, and cinematography all shine, adding the overall likeability to the film’s background / setting aspect. Plus, the film’s score is pretty good, adding that extra background layer of empathy and dramatic effect.
There were still a few problems with the movie. The most obvious one was that the film’s premise can be bit a “off-putting” to some. The film’s appeal might lean towards those of the Christian faith, limiting more casual moviegoers. In addition, while the movie never does gets “preachy” like some Christian movies do, the film does hit some religious aspects a bit “on the nose” and a little too conveniently in trying to wrap everything together in a cinematic tale. Another problem with the movie is that despite being based on a true story, it does come across in an unoriginal slightly predictable manner.
However, the worst problem was with the film’s pacing, which was a bit off at various times. The movie conveys a lot of narrative threads to follow involving its characters, however, the script seem to have a hard time juggling these threads which affected the momentum of the film. With Indivisible being more character driven than plot driven, the film’s cast is one of the best-selling points that the feature has to offer. While most are relatively unknown for their previous works on smaller projects, this doesn’t mean that their acting talents are relatively good.
At the head of the pack is Bruening as Army Chaplain Darren Turner. Bruening does some excellent work as Darren, bringing a sense of likeability to the character as he progresses through his journey in the movie. Being the film’s central character, it’s crucial to buy into him, which we do…thanks to his performance. Every dramatic poise, lighthearted moments, and emotional scene is conveyed brilliantly never overselling his performance in a way. Because of this, Darren’s journey makes for some compelling material, especially as the film heads into the final stretch in the third act.
The other major player in the movie is Drew as Darren’s wife Heather. While the movie doesn’t stray too far from what’s being usually presented as the soldier’s wife in other war / military films of late, Heather has more to do in the feature than just sit around and be the concerned military wife. The film’s more emotional moments are what definitely sells her portrayal with Drew conveying the right amount for those particular scenes. Her genuine on-screen chemistry with Bruening greatly sells the relationship between Darren and Heather.
Indivisible takes a look inside a military chaplain’s first active duty in Iraq, facing challenges and wrestling with questions of his morality with his religious faith. While the movie does stumble in its pacing and its predictable nature, the film is still a strong and solid feature that succeeds more than it falters. This film is definitely worth the recommendation for the movie should satisfy fans of Christian faith-based movies and military families and is worth a solid rent for casual moviegoers. In the end, regardless of whatever religious being / deity you believe in, Indivisible is a strong and powerfully moving feature of a person’s religious faith, the personal demons an individual one must bear, and the power of redemption in whatever guise it takes.
4.0 Out of 5 (Recommended / Rent It)
If interest, check out my movie blog @ Jason’s Movie Blog for my reviews of other current movies…..