Jay Austin wants to sell used cars in the worst way . . .
and that's exactly how he does business at his dealership.
Promising much more than he can ever deliver, he'll do whatever
it takes to sell a car. His manipulative ways permeate all
of his relationships--even his wife and son know they can't
as Jay works on restoring a classic convertible, he begins
to see that God is working on restoring him as well. Coming
face-to-face with the reality of how he truly conducts himself,
Jay Austin begins the ride of his life as he learns to honor
God with his business, his relationships, and his life!
FACING THE GIANTS, FLYWHEEL--created with the same faith-filled
warmth and humor--is the first movie produced by Sherwood
Pictures, the moviemaking ministry of a church in Georgia.
The story by Alex and Stephen Kendrick stars Alex Kendrick
(who played Coach Grant Taylor in FACING THE GIANTS). FLYWHEEL
will have you cheering (and crying) once again!
Let me begin by saying that this is not an easy movie to review- primarily because by conventional standards, this is a bad movie. Technically, it looks and feels amateurish. Story-wise, it sounds like something straight out of a Hallmark cable movie. But to judge it by such measures would probably be unfair to its humble origins.
Made on a shoestring budget of US$20,000, Flywheel is the first feature film from Sherwood Pictures, the moviemaking arm of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. It was an initiative conceived by the pair of brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick to reach out on faith to a wider audience after they read a survey that said movies and television shows were more influential in American culture than the church.
What’s perhaps even more amazing is how the cast and crew of the entire film were made up of volunteers from their own church. I would reckon that for most, if not all, of the people who worked on this film that this is their maiden film project. Apparently, it was by word of mouth that Flywheel grew in popularity since its release in 2003 and hence this director’s cut edition is now making its way onto our shores. It’s been reedited, colour-corrected and has improved sound quality.
Nevertheless, the rawness and inexperience of the film is still apparent. Shots have a certain dull lifeless quality to them; there are some glaring continuity errors and the picture still retains its video-cam quality. But hey given the calibre (or lack of it) can you fault them for having tried their best at something they believed in?
The story is simple. Writer-producer and director Alex Kendrick plays a used car salesman called Jay Austin who has been used to resorting to cheap manipulative tactics to get his customers to fork out more than what the cars they are buying for are worth.
Jay soon realises that his deceitful ways are alienating himself from his family and God; and as he begins to restore a classic convertible, he begins to realise that God is to his life what a flywheel is to the car- something that they cannot run without. So begins his journey of reconciliation back to God and church.
By non-Christian accounts, Jay’s challenges will probably be seen as trivial and inconsequential; but to Christian believers, it represents a realignment to God’s will and His way of life. If reading this makes you feel uncomfortable, then you should probably stay clear of this movie- because this is essentially a movie about one man’s personal road to redemption through God.
But if you are still interested, then give it a try. Though simple, the tale is told with earnestness and sincerity. It is also anchored by a down to earth performance by Alex Kendrick who to his credit does possess quite a bit of screen charisma. Who knows- maybe its message of commitment to God will resonate with you personally.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
- Commentary from Alex and Stephen Kendrick: The pair of amateur filmmaking brothers give an insight on how they pretty much figured their way out how to make a film on the set of this movie itself.
- Discussion on “Fireproof”: In case you haven’t heard, Fireproof is the latest movie from the Kendrick brothers that opened on the same weekend in the US as Eagle Eye in just 639 theatres. Made on a budget of US$500,000, the Christian-themed drama has so far grossed US$32 million.
- The Making of Flywheel: A behind the scenes look at the making of the film. Strictly for fans only.
- Special Message: Essentially an evangelisation exercise from the Kendrick brothers.
Despite efforts to improve the sound, there is still quite a bit of ambient noise at some parts of the movie. Visually, the movie looks dull but that is, as mentioned above, due to the lack of experience of the filmmakers shooting on a digital video camera rather than the fault of the visual transfer in the DVD.
by Gabriel Chong