Release Date: February 9th, 2007 (AMC Empire 25) by Fox Faith.
The Cast: Louise Fletcher, Henry Thomas, Liana Liberato, Soren Fulton, A.J. Buckley, Stewart Finlay-McLennan, Peter Wingfield, Elizabeth Lackey, Thea Rose, Molly Jepson.
Directed by Michael Landon, Jr.
BASIC PREMISE: In the late 19th Century, 10-year-old Cady (Liberato) searches for the Sin Eater (Wingfield) who will absolves her sins.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Although initially compelling, The Last Sin Eater loses its dramatic momentum in the meandering second act. Cady witnesses the rituals of the Sin Eater during the funeral of her grandmother and decides to embark on a journey to find this reclusive figure. Her decision to find him comes from a desire to absolve a particular which she doesnít disclose until later on which would also help to bring her closer to her mother (Lackey). She develops a friendship with a mysterious young girl, Lilybet (Rose) and also befriends a preacher (Thomas). Along the way she also meets an elderly woman (Fletcher) who warns her about the Sin Eater, yet points her in the right direction of where to find him. In her feature film debut, Liana Liberato gives a charming performance as the adorable Cady, but the screenplay by co-writers Brian Bird and Michael Landon, J.R. simply fails to bring her or any of the other characters or scenes to life with stilted dialogue and too many contrived moments which also feel dull. The flashbacks reveal what Cady believes to be her sin regarding the accidental death of her younger sister, Elen (Jepson). These scenes should have been included in the first act and more screen time should have been added to show the bond between Cady, Elen and their mother. On a positive note, director Michael Landon makes the most out of the colorful, picturesque scenery of the Appalachian Mountains and also includes a beautiful, effective musical score composed by Mark McKenzie. If only the script were as effective in pulling you into the story.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Although there arenít any preachy scenes until the third act, more thought-provoking religious messages should have been at least mentioned. The under-explored, ultimate message is the importance of always believing in Jesus. For some people, like Cady, it takes a difficult journey to finally realize to keep Jesus in their hearts and minds forever.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Stilted, meandering and contrived.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 6
IN A NUTSHELL: Picturesque scenery and a beautiful musical score donít compensative for the contrived, meandering plot with stilted dialogue.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
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