Review: Walk On Water, Family Reunion

Overview

A story about two groups of separate but related college friends. Three guys, Wake, Aaron, and Daniel find themselves with a new roommate who more than helps cover the bills. They know very little about this new guy except that he has a lot of money and is very secretive.  Meanwhile, two young professionals, Lilly and MacKenzie are old friends who run into each other working at a law firm. Lilly finds a hidden secret from her past while working at the law office and Mackenzie tries to help her work through it, but doesn’t share her own dark secret.

Trailer

 

A Note about Reviews

I review a wide variety of films from micro-budget to Hollywood blockbusters, so I grade on a bit of a curve. I try to provide an accurate representation of the film and my honest opinions but, I also temper my expectations based on the film’s budget. I don’t expect Star Wars graphics on Indie film budgets.  For independent filmmakers, there seem to be significant jumps in quality when reaching budgets of 50k, 250k, 1M and 10M.

Quality Grades

Dialogue: The dialogue at times is funny, which is good because this is a comedy/drama but quite often the dialogue is unintentionally funny, cheesy or downright out of place.  Grade C-

Story: The story comes out stronger in the beginning as it starts to build the characters but the obstacle the characters have to overcome and the overall development of plot and character don’t materialize nearly strong enough. For me, story is what makes or breaks any movie. The story is understandable and does have a bit of a flow to it, but just lacks the strength it could and should have. Grade C

Sound: The sound is fairly decent. There are a few places the volume is bit low but otherwise, it’s pretty easy to listen to and won’t be a hindrance and that’s the most important thing to get right, especially for lower budget films. The music and sound effects are well done and add to the enjoyability of the movie. Grade B+

Cinematography: There are some very nice shots and the action is easy to follow. Occasionally there are some bland shots and sometimes the lighting could really be improved. Grade B-

Acting: Not every film has to be Oscar-worthy dramatic but the acting in all films should be believable within the context of the story. At times the acting is funny and fits with the story being told. There are also quite a few times when the acting feels forced and cheesy. The acting, however, is likely weaker because of the dialogue issue I previously mentioned.  Grade B-/C+

Values: This is a Christian film with no offensive material. There is a Gospel message but it is a bit forced.

Summary:

My overall experience with this film is a bit of a mixed bag. I’m glad Walk on Water, is more of a comedy because Christian films are sorely lacking in this category. The potential of the movie wasn’t fully realized though. Considering the budget is under $50k there are some nicely done aspects of the film, notably the music and sometimes the cinematography.

I tend to be harsh on low budget Christian films though, not because I’m any better, but because I struggle with the same production issues. I want to be honest and I want the overall community of Christian filmmakers to see where they can and should improve. I also do want to provide encouragement and show appreciation for the hard work that goes into a film and praise any positive aspects that deserve it.

This film shows its budget which is OK but the overall story is a bit loose. In the beginning, it kept my interest for longer than a lot of straight Christian dramas, but the story arc wasn’t quite interesting enough to keep me engaged the whole time. The two sets of friends have to each make their own decision to handle a somewhat difficult situation but nothing riveting. The comedy was left to the guys in the film and they did a somewhat decent job but could have done much more. The ladies were almost always all business and some comic relief would have been nice.

In the end, the friends all get together briefly to have a reunion but it doesn’t hold a lot of meaning because unless you have watched the Christian TV show the film is based on, you aren’t really invested in their reunion. If this film had been a straight out comedy and pushed more in that direction, I really think it would have helped a lot. Even though everyone makes dramas because they are easier to get a handle on, they are much harder, in my opinion, to be made engaging. Maybe I’m just burned out on dramas altogether though. You can have a comedy with a serious message and I would love to see more Christian films take that approach. I think this film is a good start towards that end.

Details

  • Budget: Under 50k
  • Official Synopsis: In this drama/comedy, Lilly lands a job filing court documents for MacKenzie, her friend from the past, only to discover traumatic details about her own childhood that she must now confront. Meanwhile, MacKenzie must confront her own family as her brother who’s a fugitive of justice pressures her to keep silent about him. As they look to one another for comfort, both women are forced to come to terms with who they really are spiritually and whether or not they can forgive family members for what they’ve done to them.
  • Director: Rich Nation
  • Distribution:
    • Amazon Prime
    • Direct order
  • Year: 2016
  • Length: 1 hour 43 minutes
  • Rating: Not available or not rated
  • Website: http://www.moviewalkonwater.com
  • IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5676184/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
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