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Published on June 8th, 2017 | by voxx


The Shack

 Out: 9 June
Cert: 12A
Length: 132 minutes

Director: Stuart Hazeldine

Cast: Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Tim McGraw, Radha Mitchell

Plot: After suffering a family tragedy, Mack Phillips (Worthington) spirals into a deep depression which causes to question his innermost beliefs. Facing a crisis of faith, he receives a mysterious letter urging him to an abandoned shack in the Oregon wilderness.

Whether he’s played by a hilarious Morgan Freeman in Bruce and ‘Evan Almighty’ or perhaps an overbearing presence throwing a forty day flood at the world in ‘Noah’ there has always been a feeling that there is a God-like figure somewhere in the world. The film adaptation of William P. Young’s self-published Christian novel ‘The Shack’ gives that same feeling so it should be a miracle that another one came by so quickly. Or so you think unfortunately a miracle is nothing of the sort, instead what happens here is we are dragged through the snowy landscape of the Oregon countryside to the story of Mack Phillips played by a droned-voiced Sam Worthington sporting a scruffy haircut and a patchy goatee, a man who has just witnessed the worst disaster of his life; the death of his young daughter.

The film opens steadily with him remembering a time he had with his wife and his three kids enjoying a holiday in the Oregon wilderness, he’s a good father to his kids and proves within the first few minutes that he will do anything for them or in this case anything to save them when something happens, unfortunately the evil happens to him, his young daughter is kidnapped and taken to an abandoned shack at the other side of the woods. He ends up in a deep search for her – seemingly this works for a while, but when he wakes up he feels dull and disoriented much like what the film is about to become, the steady beat that kicks the film off depletes at a speedy pace. If those films left you feeling frustrated that a god-like figure wasn’t presented in the right way plot-wise, and then ‘The Shack’ will leave you fuming.

When Mack receives a mysterious letter inviting him to an abandoned shack at the other end of the woodland, it’s here that there is a saving grace Octavia Spencer’s Papa. As soon as she appears on the screen, she has a motherly soul, she’s kind, forgiving and remorseful – this leaves a warm feeling. Mack being sceptical doesn’t believe in her, he starts asking her questions – this bodes well with Spencer’s solid performance, however, due to wobbly misplaced dialogue and a few too many silly moments – her performance is not to the calibre we normally expect.

‘The Shack’ is a silly – frankly un-entertaining homage to the Christian faith which fails to deliver a slither of compassion, a beating heart and remorse. Even the glittering performances from the two leads fail to save the faith.

By Corey Denford

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