Directed by: Daniel Lusko
Premise: A faith leader (James Remar) is framed for murder when he refuses to back a legislative action.
What Works: The movie is so bad that it has some laughable moments.
What Doesn’t: Persecuted comes as part of the tide of faith based pictures that swept into theaters throughout 2014. The quality of these movies has varied from thoughtful and well-crafted pictures like Noah and Calvary to dreck like God’s Not Dead and Left Behind. But as bad as some of these films were, none were quite as stupid as Persecuted. This is yet another religious picture that feeds the persecution complex of its target audience but this title raises the game in the dumbest and most ludicrous way. The story concerns an evangelical religious leader who has been tapped by a United States Senator to back what is referred to as a “religious reform bill.” It is never actually established what this bill proposes to do. The filmmakers just suggest that the bill has something to do with diversity and if it passes the free exercise of religion will cease. When the pastor refuses to endorse the bill he is framed for murder and the faith leader finds himself on the run from evil Secret Service agents who are out to kill him. Exchanging his suit and tie for a leatherjacket and his pocket Bible for a firearm, the pastor joins with a priest played by Fred Thompson and together they uncover a conspiracy that goes to the highest levels of government. Like a lot of movies of this type, Persecuted was made by and for people who don’t understand how government actually works or what religious freedom means and the whole picture is a laughably self-serious call to resist a nonexistent boogeyman.
Bottom Line: Persecuted fancies itself a political thriller in the mold of The Parallax View but it is so silly and so ham-fisted in its politics that it comes across as an episode of South Park but without any of the irony.
Episode: #526 (January 25, 2015)