Left Behind (2014)
Directed by: Vic Armstrong
Written by: Jerry B. Jenkins, John Patus, Paul Lalonde, Tim LaHaye
Starring: Cassi Thomson, Chad Michael Murray, Lea Thompson, Major Dodson, Martin Klebba, Nicky Whelan, Nicolas Cage
LEFT BEHIND (2014)
Directed by Vic Armstrong
After flying home to visit her parents, Chloe Steele is disappointed to find her father Ray, an aeroplane pilot, has been summoned to work to pilot a flight to London. Making the best of a ruined visit, Chloe takes her little brother Raymie out shopping but tragedy strikes when every kid and some adults disappear in front of their eyes, leaving nothing but a heap of clothes in their place. Riots break out on the streets as panic takes over, but it isn’t an isolated incident as Captain Ray Steele has to calm down a plane full of frightened passengers mid-flight and fly them to safety.
Part-mystery and part-survival drama, LEFT BEHIND is a tale that binds religion and disaster in the hope of bringing something good and pure out the other side. Chloe and her father Ray seem to be the focus of the movie, on the ground and in the air respectively, each experiencing relationship issues within their family, with mum of the household the main problem for both of them. When all the children and some adults go missing, literally into thin air, emotions run high with riots breaking out on the streets and arguments heating up in the cabin of Ray’s aeroplane. The mystery of the missing people isn’t one that’s going to be solved fast, but with limited fuel and communications, its the quest to save the lives that are still on-board the aircraft which is paramount.
LEFT BEHIND opens strongly with a daughter who’s finally booked a flight home to be with her family, but her plans are ruined when her father is forced into work. After spotting her father at the airport on the way to his flight, it doesn’t take long for Chloe to realise the truth behind the story, especially when Ray enters the lounge smiling and laughing with an attractive airhostess. It’s shortly after this when both the plot and film descends into chaos, opting for a disaster movie wrapped in a mystery that is explained but never in a way which satisfies the viewer, or at least not this one.
The performances in the movie are hit and miss, with most of the actors suffering from poorly written characters, though if taken as a disaster movie which this essentially is, the film achieves its goal to entertain for its running time. However, don’t expect any extra depth or plot to be added other than the survival aspect and the odd character relations.
The action in the sky is well balanced with that on the ground, though it is the tension in the aircraft that is the most thrilling to watch as the passengers and their pilot yearn to survive. Nicolas Cage’s takes control as the captain though sometimes the believability of the whole scenario does get a little laughable. Cassi Thomson plays his daughter Chloe who’s on the ground, and the relationship between the two is played well. Unfortunately, the insta-romance between Chloe and journalist Buck Williams (Chad Michael Murray) is too forced and sudden to make the viewer care but adds filler to the plot to help flesh it out.
As a Saturday night popcorn movie, LEFT BEHIND isn’t too bad a watch but a weak plot and less than memorable execution leaves much to be desired.