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Faith, Media & Culture

Here’s today’s dispatch from the crossroads of faith, media and culture.

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The Redemption of Henry Myers airs tonight (3/23) @ 9:00 PM ET on The Hallmark Movie Channel.
Cast: Drew Water, Erin Bethea, Jaden Roberts, Ezra Proch; Directed by Clayton Miller; Written by Clayton Miller, Charlie Shahnaian and Chris Vanderkaay; Produced by Bobby Downes and Chad Gundersen

Synopsis (from The Hallmark Movie Channel website): Henry Myers (Drew Walters) is living a hard life, surviving on the frontier any way he can – even if it means robbing a bank. After his latest heist backfires and his partners (Bea Smith and Rio Alexander) betray him and leave him for dead, Henry’s life takes a surprising turn when he finds kindness and compassion from a widow (Erin Bethea) and her children (Jaden Roberts and Ezra Proch).

With this family’s influence and support, Henry begins to question the choices he’s made in his life. Just as things begin to make sense, Henry’s life is shaken again when his old partners show up. Will Henry Myers seek the revenge he desires or finally find his redemption?

Review: Occasionally, I’ll catch old episodes of the vintage TV western Gunsmoke on TV Land or The Rifleman on AMC and I must say its remarkable how well those shows stand the test of time (unlike, say, Bonanza which, despite memorable and likable characters, can often be quite creaky). What classic westerns of both TV and film (i.e. High Noon, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) share are taut stories and strong, clearly delineated characters and some sort of comment on the human condition that carries through to current times.  All those qualities are present in The Redemption of Henry Myers.

Drew Waters (who faith-based movie audiences may recognize from The Ultimate Life) stars as the title characters, a bank robber who accidentally shoots and kills a minister while hiding his loot beneath the church floorboards. The ministers dying words (telling Henry that it is possible for him to change) haunts him even runs from the law, his vengeful ex-partners (who want what they consider to be their money) and himself.

Wounded during while escaping from his previous cohorts, Henry is saved (in more ways than one) by Marilyn (Eric Bethea), a widow, and her two children. Will (Ezra Proch) dreams of growing up and killing the man who killed his pa. His younger sister Laura, meanwhile, (Jaden Roberts) forms an emotional bond (made stronger when he saves her life from a rattlesnake) that eventually leads a scene right out of Shane (another classic oater). There’s a reveal a reveal which I won’t reveal but you will probably see coming. Which is not to say Henry Myers is predictable. The ending is actually suspenseful and will be on the edge of your seat wondering if he lives or dies.

The larger issue being played out, of course, is the question of whether a man can really change his ways. The Bible is actually read from (including the parables  of the prodigal son and the good Samaritan) but, given the faith of Marilyn (who read the stories to her kids as Henry overhears), the scenes are moving, organic to the story and don’t come as a forced in any way. And the theme of the story — that no sin is beyond God’s ability or willingness to forgive — is certainly a positive and healing one.

The Redemption of Henry Myers is Highly Recommended.

Encourage one another and build each other up – 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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