Movie Review: Unstoppable

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Unstoppable is the latest CamFam Studios documentary film, written by outspoken evangelical Christian and friend of Answers in Genesis, Kirk Cameron.

Synopsis

Unstoppable is the latest CamFam Studios documentary film. Written by outspoken evangelical Christian and friend of Answers in Genesis, Kirk Cameron, Unstoppable was directed by Darren Doane and developed collaboratively with Liberty University.

Described by Cameron as the “most personal project I have ever made,” Unstoppable boldly addresses the issue of theodicy—or the problem of evil, as it’s more commonly known. In short, why do bad things happen to good people? Cameron says, “I want to answer that question based on what we can know from experience, and from history, and from God’s Word.”

Cameron began working on Unstoppable after a personal friend, Matt Sandgren, died of cancer at the age of 15. The film is bracketed by the details of Sandgren’s passing, including actual footage from his funeral. Unstoppable is simply argued and conversational in format. The film is narrated by Kirk Cameron.

Review

Overall, the film is quite good. More than once, Cameron emphasizes the authority of Scripture; that it is the ultimate source of propositional truth. Cameron presents God’s creation of Adam from the ground, the Fall, and the global Flood as actual, historical events, and he clearly communicates the gospel. In parts, Cameron stresses both the pure justice and the pure grace of God.

Naturally, there are many different ways of approaching the topics of pain, suffering, and death. In Unstoppable, Cameron avoided heavy, philosophical terms, and instead took a basic, literary approach. “Well, the best way I know how to get a grip on what God is doing is looking into the book that He wrote,” says Cameron, as he picks up a Bible, “and understanding that there is an Author who is writing the greatest story in the world. The great drama of life is being enacted right now on the stage of this world and you and I are characters playing roles in this.”

At Answers in Genesis, we often discourage using the word “story” to describe historical events recorded in Scripture. We do this because people sometimes tend to view “Bible stories” as moralistic, fictional tales divorced from actual history. Cameron, on the other hand, essentially argues the same thing, but from a different angle. Rather than using “stories” in contrast to real-life historical events, he argues that history is itself a story; that there is a continuous plot running from Adam through us, all the way to the last day. So, for example, there is perfect historical continuity between God’s story for Noah and God’s story for your life—your subplot is simply established at a different point in the grand narrative.

Unstoppable does contain some interpretive conjecture. Although Answers in Genesis might lean a different direction than Cameron on some points or refrain from taking a stand on an issue, 1 his arguments are well reasoned and rooted in the biblical text. Cameron’s dialog seems a bit off-the-cuff at times, and he does not always present the details of the biblical narrative in chronological order. This may be slightly confusing for viewers who are unfamiliar with the text. The movie also includes some odd production choices—the serpent in the garden, for instance, appears as a man with scorched and peeling skin—but on the whole, director Darren Doane is a solid visual communicator, applying the qualities of beauty and grit with a discerning eye.

Unstoppable ends on a high note, emphasizing Jesus’s victory over sin and death. Cameron refers to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18–20) as our “mission of heavenizing the earth”—a term he used earlier in the film, referring to the cultural mandate (Genesis 1:26–28). Cameron states that Christ has established the pattern for overcoming our enemies—not by killing them, but by laying down our lives as sacrifices for them. In this final portion of the film, there seems to be a lot of historical optimism. It may strike some viewers as leaning postmillennial.2 It is worth noting, however, that Cameron avoids making any truly definitive statements on eschatology. In wrapping up the movie, he asserts that “God is good, we can trust Him, and His purposes are unstoppable.”

Appropriateness

Concerning potentially objectionable content in the film, violence is present in the form of Cain killing Abel—though the act is presented in the right context: decidedly wicked and unworthy of imitation. There is also a very quick flash of Adam’s rib being removed, which may startle some viewers.

Likewise, with the creation of Adam and Eve, they are clearly nude, though mostly by implication: nothing explicit is seen, as the shots were carefully staged. (We find out later in one of the behind-the-scenes special features that the actors—a real-life married couple—were partially clothed; and it is apparent even in the film that “Eve” was wearing a dress in one shot.)

The film contains no profanity, though one song does contain some strong lyrics.

Unstoppable is not rated by the MPAA. We suspect that if it were, it would likely receive a heavy PG or a mild PG-13 rating, mostly for violence and the gravity of the subject material. All things considered, we believe the film is appropriate for many older children and adults. Ultimately, it is your call whether Unstoppable is appropriate for you and your family.

Recommendation

Considering the film’s pacing, themes, and content, we recommend Unstoppable for discerning teens and adults.

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Footnotes

  1. There are many theological topics (e.g. Covenant theology vs. dispensationalism, eschatology, and Calvinism vs. Arminianism) that fall outside the scope of Answers in Genesis’s ministry. For more information, click here to find out where we draw the line.
  2. Postmillennialism is a historic orthodox eschatology; one that enjoyed a high degree of popularity in the church for many centuries, now seeing a revival. Adherents teach that the earth will gradually be overwhelmed by the Kingdom of God through the preaching of the Word and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men in a period prior to the last day of history; a day that will include the resurrection of dead—first of the just and then of the unjust—the second advent of Christ, and the final judgment. Since postmillennialism is an eschatological perspective argued from Scripture rather than externally imposed upon it, it is a topic that falls outside the scope of Answers in Genesis.

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