The Shack is a faith-based film about a father, Mack, who is grieving a family tragedy. He receives a suspicious letter that leads him to go on a short trip to where the tragedy occurred, at the shack, hence the name. He then finds himself on a weekend retreat to “Heaven” with the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. At this retreat he is helped through the difficult and scarring times he went through in his life. He also receives guidance from the Father, Son and Holy Ghost as he begins to do dig deep in his faith and beliefs.
Viewers who are strong in their faith will surely find the film more appealing than those who are not. The film is based around stories and key people from the Bible that more religious people would find more obvious than those who are not. The actors in the film did a great job at portraying the theme, emotion and meaning behind this movie. The script on the other hand could have been stronger or more vibrant but with the help of the actors, the script was brought to life. The biggest weakness in this film is the graphics, specifically the ones when Mack is on his Heaven retreat.
The biggest downfall to The Shack is the graphics throughout the film. The major graphics do not take place until the second and third parts of the act structure, when Mack visits Heaven. The graphics seem subpar for the access editors have to graphic design. They appeared to be low budget when compared to many other films in the theatres today. For example, when Mack is walking on water with the Son it seems extremely unrealistic as well as the flourishing gardens that represent Mack’s life. The graphics had room for improvement. The theme and story line make up for the graphics if the viewer is a fan of faith based films because the theme is overpowering and moving for religious viewers.
The notable actors in the movie included Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer and Tim McGraw. The actor’s emotions were clearly portrayed and the viewers could feel the hurt and suffering that the family, and Mack specifically, were feeling in their parts. The writer also did a great job at creating a complete vision with no unanswered questions to leave the viewers pondering on what might happen next. Many movies follow a three-act structure, which includes the beginning, middle and end of a movie, and those were clearly defined in this film and flowed well. The wardrobe throughout the movie is also extremely fitting and was never overpowering the talented actors. The scriptwriter did a phenomenal job at portraying God in an unexpected way for the audience to relate with.
The themes were clearly depicted in this film, although they were not disclosed until the second act in the three-act structure. The themes, which were judgment and forgiveness, were tied in seamlessly with the script. Parts of the production design also helped to tie in the theme with certain scenes. For instance, when Mack was learning of judgment and how he judges others constantly the lighting was dark and took place in a cave. When Mack learns of forgiveness and finally forgives the antagonist in the story, the scene takes place in the woods and there is a sense of peace surrounding him. The production team did a great job at carrying out the themes of the movie within each scene through lighting and props.
The Shack writer and producers were focused on its target market, which are religious viewers when creating this film. The director and scriptwriter made it clear that this is their primary market. Other viewers are secondary it seems after watching this film. The storyline and theme pulled at the audience’s heartstrings while watching a father go through such a tragic time. The writer of The Shack did a great job at depicting the life and daily struggles of religious people, and was not afraid to dig deep into a dark and tragic story. The overwhelming sense of forgiveness throughout this film was moving and undeniable. The actors throughout the entire film depicted every emotion with an immense amount of skill and talent. The emotion and story line made up for the poor-quality graphics.
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