Review: ‘God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness’ counters stereotypes but remains programmatic
In the interest of equal time, anyone who’s ever seen a movie where the villains are depicted as prim religious moralists should sample some of the “God’s Not Dead” series. At times these pictures play like a pointed parody of liberal Hollywood pieties, flipping the script so that charismatic teachers and crusading attorneys become the bad guys.
That “overdue counterprogramming” element doesn’t necessarily make these films good, though. “God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness,” directed by Michael Mason, is less strident than the two surprise hits that preceded it, but it still tells a programmatic story, rooted in presumptions.
For the record:
10:40 PM, Mar. 29, 2018In an earlier version of this review, the actor David A.R. White was misidentified as Daniel.
David A.R. White reprises his role as Reverend Dave, an amiable minister who keeps stumbling into situations where his faith is at odds with secular authority. This time, when Dave’s church gets firebombed, the state university that owns the land sees an opportunity to evict an institution it finds embarrassing.
“A Light in Darkness” admirably tries to move beyond drawing lines between petty bureaucracies and the righteous. As Dave fights to save his ministry (aided by his non-believing lawyer brother, well played by John Corbett), he’s distressed to realize he’s contributing to the divisiveness of modern American life.
But like a lot of faith-based films, “God’s Not Dead” feels as though it’s trying to score points in an argument no one’s actually having.
‘God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness’
Rated: PG for thematic elements including some violence and suggestive material.
Running time: 1 hour, 44 minutes
Playing: In general release
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