Genre: Satirical Comedy
Directed by: Will Bakke (Riot Studios)
Run Time: 1 hour 33 minutes
Cast: Alex Russell, Zachary Knighton, Johanna Braddy, Miles Fisher
Distributed in Australia by Heritage Films
Believe Me, this movie got the discussions going in our house! Out of my two teenagers, one said it was funny and thought-provoking, and the other was shocked that people could ‘treat unsuspecting Christians like that’ and felt it was a more of a mockery.
Not your typical ‘Christian movie’, Believe Me is set to challenge and start conversations.
When Sam Atwell (Alex Russell) and his college buddies need to come up with some quick cash to finish their degree, they try their hand at fleecing Christians under the guise of raising money for clean water in Africa which they cleverly label ‘Get Wells Soon’.
With no intention of delivering the money to Africa, it is pocketed by these beer-drinking, party boys and when they find themselves on a nation-wide mission tour sponsored by the well-meaning executive director Ken (Christopher McDonald) from Cross Country ministries, there is a lot more money still to come.
As these mission superstars, now labelled ‘the God Squad’, scam their way across the country, the story is met with twists and turns, cover-ups and a romantic interest which challenges the conscience of the ring-leader, Sam Atwell, until they eventually wriggle their way out of the mess they find themselves in.
There is no real resolve or conclusion to Believe Me and it is not a repentant-feel-good movie, but it does lend itself to a platform for broad discussion and leaves the viewer with a thought-provoking message.
The acting is strong and the fast-paced comedic/slightly irreverent story-line provides for entertaining viewing. While it exposes a humorous and ugly side of scam-artists, it also holds up a mirror to areas that can be, and are, exploited within some Christian ministries. It will certainly make you think carefully about how you donate your money.
Used wisely, this movie can be an entertaining study that probes certain areas objectively and perhaps challenges us a little.
Overall Rating: 3/5 and left of centre
Suitable for older teenagers. Discretion is needed by parents as it would not suit younger viewers due to a handful of bad language and mature themes.
If you would like to organise a screening of Believe Me, this can be done through Fan-force: https://fan-force.com/films/believe-me/
First published in Christian Today Australia 24th September, 2015
(c) Rebecca Moore 2015