2000, PG-13, 92 min. Directed by Victor Sarin. Starring Kirk Cameron, Brad Johnson, Clarence Gilyard Jr., Chelsea Noble, Daniel Pilon, Gordon Currie.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., Feb. 9, 2001
Growing Pains heartthrob Kirk Cameron and his actress wife Chelsea Noble co-star in this evangelical Christian movie based on the Book of Revelation. Shaped as an action thriller, the bare-bones movie centers around the mysterious sudden disappearance of millions of the world's people. They're there one minute, then, poof!, all that remains are the shapeless piles of shorn clothing. The mass disappearance is especially hard on children, who have vacated their bodies in disproportionate numbers. If it were The Outer Limits we'd have a crackling global case of simultaneous spontaneous combustion. This being Left Behind, which is based on the bestselling book by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkin, what we're presumed to have is evidence of the Apocalypse. “Seeing is believing,” says the movie's tagline. Cameron plays TV news reporter Buck Williams who seeks the truth – which turns out to be some kind of garbled tale of the Antichrist, world domination, United Nations stooges, and the global food supply. There's also something about an unfaithful airline pilot, a stewardess who's leaving that gig for a more rewarding career at the U.N., and a disaffected teenager (whose nose ring inexplicably disappears after the Apocalypse). The loosely scripted story is further burdened with clunky dialogue and performances, shoddy continuity, and, well, Kirk Cameron – although his character's climactic acceptance of Jesus Christ as his personal savior while in a public men's restroom is a one-of-a-kind moment. If Left Behind were a science fiction corker I'm not sure I'd accept whatever explanations it offered about its mysterious disappearances. But as an evangelical thriller (which, incidentally, was released on video on October 31, prior to its theatrical run), this epic is better left behind.