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Final Destination 5

John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service

What has become a cinematic meat grinder of a franchise churns on with "Final Destination 5" (Warner Bros.). Appealing exploitatively to the worst in human nature—a morbid desire to watch special-effects-fodder characters killed off in various nauseating ways—director Steven Quale's gorefest is mind-numbingly boring when not repulsive.

The current retread of the all-too-familiar formula behind these flicks sees a group of paper factory executives—played by Emma Bell, Miles Fisher, Ellen Wroe, P.J. Byrne, Arlen Escarpeta and David Koechner—managing to evade death thanks to the timely premonition of a colleague named Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto). Sam mystically foresees the collapse of the bridge the co-workers are crossing on their way to a corporate retreat.

But the Grim Reaper, who clearly doesn't appreciate being hustled, begins evening his accounts by subjecting each survivor in succession to a bizarre and grisly end. These range from an acupuncture session and a laser eye surgery appointment that both go horribly wrong to a gymnastics incident that even the notorious East German Olympic judges of old would have been justified in scoring low.

Stitching these scenes of mayhem together, barely, is something like a plotline about Sam leaving the paper industry behind to pursue his real interest—haute cuisine—by becoming an intern chef at a Paris restaurant.

But what will this mean for his relationship with girlfriend Molly (Bell)? Of course no one cares, and the cooking angle is just an excuse to tease viewers with the meat cleavers, flaming skillets and bubbling deep fryers of the eatery where Sam moonlights after office hours.

Those conversant with Russian dramatist Anton Chekhov's dictum that, if a revolver is seen in the first act of a play it must be fired in the second or third act, will be suitably alarmed to note that this array of kitchen equipment also includes a huge pointed skewer for roasting meat.

Coming at you, as they say, and in 3-D.

The film contains pervasive gruesome violence, a few rough and about a dozen crude terms and some sexual references. The Catholic News Service classification is O—morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R—restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.

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Charles de Foucauld: Born into an aristocratic family in Strasbourg, France, Charles was orphaned at the age of six, raised by his devout grandfather, rejected the Catholic faith as a teenager and joined the French army. Inheriting a great deal of money from his grandfather, Charles went to Algeria with his regiment, but not without his mistress, Mimi. <br /><br />When he declined to give her up, he was dismissed from the army. Still in Algeria when he left Mimi, Charles reenlisted in the army. Refused permission to make a scientific exploration of nearby Morocco, he resigned from the service. With the help of a Jewish rabbi, Charles disguised himself as a Jew and in 1883 began a one-year exploration that he recorded in a book that was well received. <br /><br />Inspired by the Jews and Muslims whom he met, Charles resumed the practice of his Catholic faith when he returned to France in 1886. He joined a Trappist monastery in Ardeche, France, and later transferred to one in Akbes, Syria. Leaving the monastery in 1897, Charles worked as gardener and sacristan for the Poor Clare nuns in Nazareth and later in Jerusalem. In 1901 he returned to France and was ordained a priest. <br /><br />Later that year Charles journeyed to Beni-Abbes, Morocco, intending to found a monastic religious community in North Africa that offered hospitality to Christians, Muslims, Jews, or people with no religion. He lived a peaceful, hidden life but attracted no companions. <br /><br />A former army comrade invited him to live among the Tuareg people in Algeria. Charles learned their language enough to write a Tuareg-French and French-Tuareg dictionary, and to translate the Gospels into Tuareg. In 1905 he came to Tamanrasset, where he lived the rest of his life. A two-volume collection of Charles' Tuareg poetry was published after his death. <br /><br />In early 1909 he visited France and established an association of laypeople who pledged to live by the Gospels. His return to Tamanrasset was welcomed by the Tuareg. In 1915 Charles wrote to Louis Massignon: “The love of God, the love for one’s neighbor…All religion is found there…How to get to that point? Not in a day since it is perfection itself: it is the goal we must always aim for, which we must unceasingly try to reach and that we will only attain in heaven.”   <br /><br />The outbreak of World War I led to attacks on the French in Algeria. Seized in a raid by another tribe, Charles and two French soldiers coming to visit him were shot to death on December 1, 1916. <br />Five religious congregations, associations, and spiritual institutes (Little Brothers of Jesus, Little Sisters of the Sacred Heart, Little Sisters of Jesus, Little Brothers of the Gospel and Little Sisters of the Gospel) draw inspiration from the peaceful, largely hidden, yet hospitable life that characterized Charles. He was beatified on November 13, 2005. American Catholic Blog You know, O my God, I have never desired anything but to love you, and I am ambitious for no other glory.

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