Road to Redemption

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In Theaters


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Bob Waliszewski

Movie Review

Amanda and her live-in boyfriend Alan are broke. Flat broke. But when Amanda stumbles across the names of the thoroughbreds scheduled to win a fixed horse race (her Las Vegas boss, Sully, runs a bookie ring for the Mafia), it looks like her luck has finally turned. Using “borrowed” money (from a client of Sully’s), Amanda and Alan’s gambling winnings begin to mount. However, when the horse that’s supposed to win stumbles and loses its jockey in the homestretch, the pair are out their entire $250,000 wager. One bad decision leads to another as Alan hatches a plan to burn Sully’s office in hopes of having an excuse for the client’s missing money.

Backed into a corner, Amanda remembers she has a rich grandfather (Nathan Tucker) she hasn’t seen since an early childhood fishing trip 20 years prior. Hoping to sweet talk him into giving her an early inheritance, she reunites with him in Arizona. He’s willing to part with the cash, but on one condition—she must accompany him on a trip to his favorite fishing hole in Redemption, Mont. Amanda agrees. What she doesn’t know is that Grandpa has had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. And he’s using their little trip to share his faith. Meanwhile, Sully and a pair of thugs are hot on their trail.

positive elements/spiritual content: This Billy Graham film follows one woman’s spiritual road to redemption. Nathan has great peace and it has everything to do with God. “I enjoy bringing Him into every part of my life,” he declares. Contrast that with Amanda. Her life’s falling apart. She’s self-seeking and worldly. Yet as she pursues earthly riches, her wise and godly grandfather models (and explains) how true heavenly riches are of greater importance. After a prayer for rescue, a group of Bikers for Jesus come to the aid of Nathan and Amanda. Billy Graham’s daily radio program is listened to regularly each day by Grandpa—and eventually Amanda. Alan’s prayer to win the final horse race goes unanswered. Strong character development illustrates the bonding power of familial love.

sexual content: Amanda and Alan live together. However, their cohabitation is never glamorized, and it becomes a topic of discussion between Nathan and his granddaughter (he calls it “shacking up”). Alan is thought to be a Peeping Tom as he peers in a women’s restroom looking for Amanda.

violent content: An office is set on fire. Vincent punches Alan in the eye (and later in the ear) off screen. Grandpa kicks Alan in the rear and the subsequent sound effects allude to a greater scuffle. A door knob nails Alan just above the eye. Amanda survives a near collision with a train. Frank is shown examining his rifle and testing the sharpness of a knife (the assumption is that he’s out to kill Amanda). A car crashes into a pond (no one is hurt). And some scaffolding falls on the “bad guys.”

crude or profane language: None.

drug and alcohol content: In one scene Frank smokes a cigarette.

conclusion: No doubt some—or most—movie critics just won’t “get” Road to Redemption. They may even call it a “Christian propaganda film.” That won’t surprise me in the least. After all, the gospel is foolishness for those who don’t believe (1 Cor. 1:18). But for those who know the Lord, or are open to straightforward spiritual Truth, this film delivers on its promise. Not only by offering a clear road to redemption, but by tendering one of the wittiest, smartest, most-colorful scripts to come out of the Christian community in a long, long time.

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Bob Waliszewski