First and foremost, I was inspired. In its middle section, The Shack connects with some strong emotional and soulful scenes that resonate and may even make you cry. Isn't that why we venture to see films like these? That said, you'll need some patience to get there. The set-up is a bit contrived with "hard times" moments seemingly stacked one on top of the other. While the production value is strong, the tale begins to unfold a tab bit on the stiff and hokey side.
It takes quite a while for our hero, played sympathetically by Sam Worthington, to get to the shack. But once there, the production takes on a whole new brave feel. It's about forgiveness, self-forgiveness, and moving on from clear tragedy. The film proclaims the shack as the location of a conversation with God within the first two minutes of run time, so I don't think I'm spoiling anything here.
That conversation is emotional, spiritual, philosophic, a little new-agey
even, and surprisingly edgy. It's not without its faults and sticky moments, but what a pleasure really, to see a film that braves these tough themes instead of blowing up some computer-generated object.
The Shack should have rested there, but apparently producers couldn't resist
a hokey Wizard of Oz resolution, ending on the same awkward stiffness with which it began.
-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --