By Sr. Rose Pacatte, F.S.P.
This sci-fi thriller takes place in rural Ohio in 1979. A
group of junior high school students led by Charles (Riley Griffiths) are
making a super 8 mm film for a film contest but they are making it up as they
go. Zombies are prominent.
Joe (Joel Courtney) makes model trains. He lives with his
dad, Deputy Lamb (Kyle Chandler), as his mom has just died. Joe is in charge of make-up and he has a huge
crush on Allie (Elle Fanning) who takes her dad Louis’ (Ron Eldard) car to
drive the gang to the train station to shoot a zombie scene.
As they begin to shoot Joe notices a pick-up truck drive onto
the tracks of an oncoming freight train. There is a spectacular crash and the
cars are detailed. The kids are terrified and run off, leaving the camera
rolling. It catches secrets the US Air Force, that arrives on the scene very
quickly, doesn’t want anyone to know. Strange square objects burst out of the
cars, and Joe picks one up to take home.
The kids go back for the camera and in the three days it
takes for the film to be developed, all kinds of things happen. We discover
that there is great enmity between the two fathers, Louis and Deputy Lamb, and
why. We also see that their children are lonely and long for their parents love
when they are grieving for different reasons.
There is an alien in their midst, and the kids’ goal is to
discover what the alien wants. In some ways we’ve seen this movie before -
think E.T., District 9, and a little bit of the Wizard of Oz and the typical
fairytale structure of the death of the mother that in its own way motivates
the actions. But it is so well made, the performances so engrossing, that the
time flew by for me.
It is the perfect film for the Pentecost season. The gifts
and fruits of the Spirit are all there: peace, love, joy, kindness, generosity,
forgiveness, wisdom, knowledge, reverence and so on. See how many you can find.
Sometimes I think that Steven Spielberg makes
the best Christian movies ever. Then J.J. Abrams, who gave us the hit TV series
“Lost” doesn’t do such a bad job himself.
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