The Grace Card DVD Review
By Kam Williams
Faith-Based Tale of Reconciliation and Redemption Released on DVD17 years ago, Mac (Michael Joiner) and Sara McDonald (Joy Parmer Moore) were left devastated by the loss of a child as a victim of crime. But where Sara's grief led her to focus on the needs of their surviving son (Robert Erickson), her embittered husband lost his faith and gradually grew emotionally estranged from the rest of the family.
Furthermore, because the man who killed their little boy was black, Mac developed a prejudiced attitude which only ended up sabotaging his career as a member of the Memphis Police Department. Recently, the veteran cop's resentment turned to rage when he was passed over for a promotion in favor of an African-American with less seniority.
To add insult to injury, he found himself assigned that officer as his partner, a development setting up a potentially-combustible situation. For having to share a squad car with a bigot was likely to test the patience of even a mild-mannered, part-time pastor like Sam Wright (Mike Higgenbottom). And predictably enough, Mac is bothered not only by the Sergeant's skin color but by his superior's humming of Gospel hymns while they're out on patrol.
This tinder box of a premise provides the intriguing point of departure for The Grace Card, a faith-based fable of Biblical proportions certain to resonate with the Christian community as well as those in search of wholesome family fare. The picture is narrated by Lou Gossett, Jr., who doles out helpful spiritual counsel as the voice of reason in a pivotal role as sage elder George Wright.
The escalating tension has his grandson praying ("Lord, don't let me kill my partner!") for self-control and contemplating retiring from the force to pursue what he feels is his true calling as a preacher in the pulpit full-time. Grandpa George recommends compassion, and playing "The Grace Card" rather than "The Race Card," because, "You can never underestimate the power of grace."
Sam hesitantly heeds the advice to stick it out with Mac, which allows for a mutual shot at reconciliation and redemption. Inspiring and uplifting, this modern morality play serves as a telling reminder about the real meaning of forgiveness.
Excellent (3.5 stars)
Rated PG-13 for violence and mature themes.
Running time: 102 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes, outtakes, "Healing Begins" music video, commentary with the director, the executive producer, and actor Michael Joiner, and featurettes entitled "Wayne Returns" and "Starting a Grace Awakening."
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Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze.
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