[Moving picture of popcorn]

Laramie Movie Scope:
Left Behind

Movie based on the popular book

[Strip of film rule]
by Robert Roten, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

February 5, 2005 -- This apocalyptic film is based the best-selling book by Reverend Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. This low-budget movie was mostly made by people with experience in television, including the actors. It was released on video before it was shown in theaters. It is no big surprise, therefore, that it looks a lot like a made-for-TV movie.

Journalist Buck Williams (Kirk Cameron of “Growing Pains” TV series), looks into the sudden disappearance of people all over the world and finds that the mysterious disappearances are tied to Biblical prophecy. He also stumbles across a plot by the Anti-Christ to take over the world (using the United Nations, of course).

Also searching for answers after his wife and son disappear is airline pilot Rayford Steele (Brad Johnson of “Flight of the Intruder”) and his daughter, Chloe (Janaya Stephens of “Inside the Osmonds” TV show). He links up with a minister, Bruce Barnes (Clarence Gilyard Jr. of “Matlock” and “Walker: Texas Ranger” TV series) to unlock the mystery. Neither man is a true believer before The Rapture.

Although the film suffers from stiff, poorly-written dialogue and some lame performances (Gilyard and Johnson being two exceptions), the story is compelling enough to carry the film. The characters are also interesting. There are some major battle scenes involving an attack on Israel from Iraq (there's a prophecy that didn't work out) and other Middle Eastern powers. These are well staged. All in all, it is more than you would expect from an independent film from a small Christian film company (Namesake Entertainment) which was shot on a shoestring budget of $17 million. It rates a C+.

The special edition DVD doesn't say on the box whether or not the film is presented in widescreen format. It turns out to be a full-screen version of the film, not widescreen. This makes it seem even more like a made-for-TV movie. According to some sources, this is a pan-and-scan transfer, but others say (with equal certainty) that it is a straight transfer. Some sources say this film had a full-screen (1.33:1) aspect ratio to begin with, which means panning and scanning was not done. On the other hand, the Internet Movie Database indicates the original aspect ratio of the film was 1.85:1, which could indicate a possible pan and scan transfer. I couldn't find a widescreen version of this film for sale. I wonder why? There's certainly a market for it. Anyway, the transfer is sharp and the colors are rich.

There are two documentaries about the making of the film on the DVD, “Seeing is Believing” and “The Making of the Film.” The two documentaries share much of the same footage, but one has more music videos than the other. Extra features also include music videos, trailers, web links and biographies of the actors. The DVD does not have subtitles, but does have closed-captions. Soundtracks include English surround and Spanish stereo.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 2005 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
[Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)