For this group of law enforcement officers, the dangers they face on the job do not prepare them for the challenges of fatherhood.
By Foo Ce Chao
Fatherhood is more than just bringing home the bacon, or in this case, patrolling the streets. That’s the message conveyed in Courageous, a Christian film about a group of men attempting to live out godly lives as fathers despite the harsh demands of reality.
Independently produced by Sherwood Pictures, the movie-making ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia whose previous releases include Fireproof and Walking With Giants, it stars director and co-writer Alex Kendrick as Sheriff Adam Mitchell, who shares jokes and woes with his fellow law enforcement officers Shane Fuller (Kevin Downes), Nathan Hayes (Ken Bevel) and David Thomson (Ben Davies) on Saturday evenings over sodas.
Along comes Javier (Robert Amaya), a Latino construction worker who joins their fellowship when his prayer for a job leads him to Adam. Disaster strikes when Adam loses his daughter, forcing him to reflect on his role as a father by studying the Scriptures. The born-again Adam then enlists his four friends in an outdoor formal ceremony to sign a resolution pledging themselves to God and their fatherly duties. Living up to the covenant, as they discover, is a different matter altogether. From a tense car-chase opening sequence to more light-hearted moments (largely provided by an able Amaya in his big screen debut) interspersed with tear-jerking ones, Courageous makes for a good watch and a wake-up call to biblical manhood.
Courageous is clearly a movie for Christians—those unfamiliar with the faith might find the dialogue a little heavy-handed, especially with the “altar call” scene at the end. In its enthusiasm to portray pro-active fatherhood, the female roles seem undermined—the women in the movie are relegated to mere homemakers doing the cooking, baby-sitting and supporting their role model husbands. A more sophisticated, nuanced plot with multi-dimensional characters would have done greater justice to the film’s uplifting message.