Handsomely produced, earnestly performed and 100 percent irony-free, “The Last Sin Eater” is religious art for mainstream consumption.
The Last Sin Eater is engaging, uplifting entertainment. Director Michael Landon Jr. is every bit the storyteller that his father was. And each acting performance is inspired, especially that of lead actress Liana Liberato, who plays 10-year-old Cadi Forbes. She is in nearly every scene and is perfect in the role.
Of course the film has its critics like every major release, but put me down in the same camp with the Times and TAS.
More important, the 15/16 year old next to me was crying at the end, as was her mom. The 1:10 PM Sunday showing had a good sized crowd, and the film moves briskly along powered by a beautiful score and the remote mountain scenery vital to the tale’s telling. I hadn’t read the novel from which the book sprang and so the story’s second theme was both a surprise and a powerful booster to the film’s message of redemption. The Times’ loved the “sumptuous scenery, graceful crane shots and Rembrandt lighting,” but found the Christianity less compelling. I suspect most viewers will find the latter more memorable because it is so rare that Christian theology is presented without the compromises intended to “broaden the audience,” but certainly the beauty is there to enjoy as well (as is a wonderful score by Mark McKenzie, which I hope will be on CD shortly.)
I hope the theaters expand the number of screens for next week so that the movie’s excellent word of mouth has a chance to bring the audience it deserves. The movie’s website has a theater-finder to get you to the screen nearest you.