BOMB “This is not my work! It is God’s work!”
Faith Like Potatoes is a detestable, wrong-headed film with this message: if you have faith in God, you can put out fires, plant potatoes, fix your marriage, be a happy guy, even raise total strangers form the dead (right!), but you won’t by any means be able to raise your brother’s son from the dead during a tractor accident. As a servant of God and the human race, I must now write a review for this sentimental, insane garbage. We’ll get into the more personal problems with this movie later, but for now, let’s just deal with the technical side of things.
This movie is supposedly based upon the true story of Angus Buchan, a South African farmer who moves his family to a place called Kwa-Zulu Natal to start a new farm. At the beginning of the film, he is an absolute jerk. He’s got this amazing temper that seems to run away from him. His response to anything bad is to erupt from his seat and go chasing whatever did the injustice like a rabid dog. When one of his Zulu farm workers crashes a tractor in the field, Angus suddenly erupts into a fit of rage, chasing after these poor fools shouting, “I’m gonna kill you! I’m gonna kill you!” His wife says that the reason for all of this is that “something is missing” (gee! I wonder what that will be). I think she’s wrong. I think this man has some sort of serious psychological disorder like bi-polar disorder or maybe he’s manic-depressive. One second he’s nice and docile and, “Hi, I’m Angus Buchan!” and the next second he’s this raging lunatic shouting wild things. Now, maybe this is the intent of the film, but I don’t think so. The fault here lies with the acting, which is pitiful at best. The main character is overacted to the point of distraction, and his wife is an emotionless doormat. The other characters are pretty bad too. Of course the dialogue used to illustrate this character’s terrible temper is equally cringe-worthy. At one point he shouts to a stump in the middle of the road, “I’ll get you out, you cursed stump!” Now of course, I understand that this is a family film, but when your tractor crashes in the field and you are steaming mad, you don’t say, “What the heck happened here?” I know they are trying to be clean, but be realistic also (not to mention every other word in the script is “bloody”).
So, after about half-an-hour of talking and yelling and crying on the part of Angus, he is finally dragged to church by his wife where he experiences an emotional break down and discovers that the thing missing in his life is Jesus. From here on it is just one long and boring sermon. Look, I’m a Christian, and I have no problem with faith movies. I liked Facing the Giants and Fireproof well enough, and I absolutely went wild for M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs. I have no problem with fellow Christians making movies about their faith, but they have to be better than this. Just because it’s about God doesn’t mean that it’s not open to criticism. When I go to see a movie about faith, I want to see something that will make me believe in God. What I don’t want to see is a bunch of nonsensical garbage that teaches me nothing about faith or Christianity. I learned nothing here at all. This movie will strengthen your faith if you are practically anything but a Christian. If you are a Hindu, you’ll want to stay a Hindu after this. And if you are and atheist, you’ll definitely be convinced of the absence of a God by the end of this movie. As a Christian, I was appalled at how this movie went about delivering its message. The worst scene in the movie comes shortly after Angus converts. He is out in his corn field, lying on his back reading the Bible. He sighs, closes the book and says, “Lord, how do you want me to do this?” As he emerges form the corn, he runs into his Reverend. Angus points to his corn and says, “That is my church. That’s my green cathedral!” WHAT? How is absolutely asinine dialogue like that going to get anyone interested in Christianity? All it will do is make people think that all Christians are wishy-washy, bi-polar lunatics.
After the conversion scene in the church, the film degenerates into a long and boring sermon. Just one bad scene after another flies up onto that screen and makes us clutch our Rosaries hoping to be released form this Purgatory of a film. I was shocked at how much worse the movie gets after this point. It was already bad to begin with, but how could it get any worse? It did. The characters become even more moronic and the screenplay even more unbelievable. At one point, Angus delivers a sermon to some ten thousand people in a football stadium in a kilt, as a symbol of his Scottish heritage. The acting becomes increasingly more horrendous and unrealistic, and the tone of the screenplay becomes heavy-handed and scornful, as if daring you to dislike it. Angus’s Christ-like qualities become almost too much after the conversion, but at the point when Angus raises a complete stranger from the dead, I had had it. I had absolutely had enough of this stupid, vacant, ignorant, inept garbage. All that was left was for Angus to walk on water. This is probably the most idiotic film of the decade. Now, Angus has become not only unlikable and preachy, but now he’s bordering on con-man status also.
Now, despite the bad acting, bad screenplay, and weird story, there is a more personal issue with the film. I’m going to give something away now, so if you want to be surprised, read no further. I hold to the philosophy that the death of a child is a very horrific thing. So if it has to be shown in a movie, there had better be a pretty golly-dang good reason for it. At about the three-fourths mark of the film, Angus takes his nephew for a ride in his tractor, during which the nephew falls off and is crushed by the wheel. This scene has almost no context and no bearing on the rest of the movie. It comes, there’s some sadness afterword, and then it’s forgotten about. It’s also quite a violent scene, showing blood spewing out of the dying child’s mouth. There’s no call for this horrid scene in this movie. It was advertized as a family film for heaven’s sake! This scene is stupid and appalling enough, but to show it in a film aimed for a family audience! My God, what were they thinking? Angus stands over the child weeping, and is unable to raise this boy from the dead (what a surprise). So, through all this I gather that God will help you raise total strangers from the dead, but not your own nephew. It’s a completely wrong-headed message and this scene has no purpose and no business being here. The whole sequence made me feel sick and demoralized for some time after. An absolutely unnecessary, uncalled-for, and horrible scene in what was supposed to be a family movie.
Oh, did I dislike this movie! It made me squirm. I hated the acting, I hated the directing, I hated the cinematography, I hated the screenplay, I hated the message (which I found incredibly disturbing), and I hated the way Christianity was portrayed, I hated the dialogue, I hated scene upon scene upon scene of people talking, I hated the characters, and I hated the complete wrong-headedness of the film. I hated everything about this movie. I hated EVERYTHING! There is nothing good, wholesome, or spiritual here at all. It left a very, very bad taste in my mouth. Whoever thought this movie had a good message was unbelievably mistaken. To put it simply, this is without a doubt, the most insensitive, poorly created, inept piece of trash I’ve seen in a while. I really and truly hated everything about this movie. Well, end of rant. I’m sure I’ve offended the angels with this review. See you in hell!
Carmel Entertainment Group and Global Creative Studios Presents a film by Regardt van den Bergh
Cast: Frank Rautenbach, Jeanne Neilson, Hamilton Dlamini, Regardt van den Bergh. Directed by Regardt van den Bergh
Rated PG for some thematic material, an accident scene, mild language, and brief smoking. Release Date: 03 October 2010