LEFT BEHIND (2014) Dir. Vic Armstrong
Making a movie about Satan is a walk in the park for Hollywood, it’s as natural as the cloven hoof on a goat. But when it comes to making a movie about God, it’s as if their system breaks down. It’s like watching a psychopath on his best behavior. You may be fooled for a minute, but in the end the psychopath always gives himself away, just as any pretense of Godliness does in Left Behind.
Left Behind conveys the idea that people of faith are annoying, pushy nutcases to be shunned and ridiculed. In the same breath, the film normalizes and is populated with selfish, whining, materialistic people who are presented as the intolerant ‘sane’ ones. The viewer is never meant to grasp the deeper meaning of faith, but only to doubt the existence of God by having characters reference their losses and complain about fairness in relation to the existence of a higher power.
Midway, things get complicated for the non-believers as they become leftovers of the Rapture. After millions of people vanish, they are left to figure out that they were left behind because God deemed them unworthy of being saved—a recurring theme also used in A Quiet Place.
We’re hardly left wondering about the existence of God because this is, after all, a disaster movie and survivors are much too busy pillaging shops, running off with flat screen tvs, and fighting over useless garbage to bother with contemplating any reason for their predicament.
But in case there are any viewers who may get the idea that a belief in God may have some benefit, we’re shown that the one gun we see in the entire movie belonged to a man of faith and along with this bit of 2A propaganda, we are quickly introduced to a left behind pastor whose presence proves that even he did not believe what he preached.
The insidious final message is a reminder to the survivors that whether you believe in God or not, you are now, without a doubt, in Hell. The final shot is a pure vision of Hell on Earth. With the cities of the world burning, it’s the idea that chaos is the only thing remaining. “It’s like the end of the world.” says one man. “No. It’s just the beginning” is the response he gets.
What this ‘beginning’ means is that it’s an acknowledgment and an acceptance of hell. It’s the narcissistic girl who removes her make-up to reveal her actual ‘beauty’; it’s the world finally revealed as it is without all the pretty things to disguise the pervasive evil that has taken it over.
This review first appeared in the print version of Victims of Cinema. The first 50 reviews can be obtained HERE.