brother's keeprBrother’s Keeper
Desert Wind Films
In Theaters May 29, 2015

By Bob Marovich

Faith-inspired films can sometimes come off as one-dimensional as Hallmark made-for-TV movies.

Not so Brother’s Keeper. Directed by T. J. Amato and Josh Mills and released by Desert Wind Studios, Brother’s Keeper employs a smart and ever-unfolding storyline by Mills and Briana Hartman to underscore the significance of forgiveness and the redemptive power of suffering.

Brother’s Keeper is set in late 1950s Georgia. Twin brothers Andy and Pete Goodwynn (played by Graham and Alex Miller, respectively) lost their parents tragically as young children and are the only family they have. At the same time, the two couldn’t be more different. Andy is tempestuous and aimless while Pete is studious and preparing to enter the seminary. Pete is madly in love with Maggie Maloy (Mackenzie Mauzy), but so is Gordon Leemaster (Daniel Samonas), the preppy but tortured son of a local entrepreneur who has recently unveiled a major new housing development for the community.

When Maggie is found dead of suffocation at the prom, Pete is blamed instantly and shuffled off to prison. He faces the death penalty if found guilty.  Despite the seriousness of the charge, Pete’s case rests in the hands of a judge and jury who seem on the take.

Amato and Mills fill the plot with biblical metaphors (the brothers’ names are Andrew and Peter, for instance) and Dickensian plot twists. It is inspirational without being preachy. Real twins Alex and Graham Miller channel the Goodwynn brothers so well, I thought at first it was one actor playing both roles.  Country singer Travis Tritt is equally effective is Eddie Waters, a wizened convict who looks out for Pete in more ways than one.

Set to hit theaters in late May, Brother’s Keeper will undoubtedly stimulate animated discussions on the nature of forgiveness, grace, and suffering, and is ideal for church groups, youth groups, and families alike. Although the plot turns on the murder of Maggie Maloy, there is no gratuitous violence.  It is simply a gripping story with a powerful message.

Four of Five Stars

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Written by : Bob Marovich

Bob Marovich is a gospel music historian, author, and radio host. Founder of Journal of Gospel Music blog (formally The Black Gospel Blog) and producer of the Gospel Memories Radio Show.