Film Review – The Shack (2017)

Title – The Shack (2017)

Director – Stuart Hazeldine (Exam)

Cast – Sam Worthington, Octavia Spencer, Tim McGraw, Radha Mitchell, Avraham Aviv Alush, Sumire Matsubara, Alice Braga, Graham Greene

Plot – Having his faith tested and grieving the tragic loss of his young daughter Missy, Mackenzie Phillips (Worthington) gets a mysterious invitation to visit the shack where Missy was seemingly murdered by a name addressed as Papa, the name Missy use to give to God when she prayed.

“Pain robs you of joy, and the capacity to love”

Review by Eddie on 5/02/2018

Sometimes you watch a movie that you can’t quite fathom was made, The Shack is one of those such movies.

An adaptation of William P. Young’s New York Times best-selling faith based book of the same name, Exam director Stuart Hazeldine has here crafted one of the most long-winded and misguided films of last year that will surely make its way onto many of the end of year worst of lists that have been jotted down for the 2017 film year.

As someone who read Young’s book (virtually by chance, I promise), The Shack was always going to be a seriously hard proposition when it came to bringing it to life on the big screen but there was a possibility it could’ve been something quite special but that possibility is very quickly dashed in the very early stages of Hazeldine’s effort in what’s some uneven groundwork for a film that slowly (very very slowly) gets worse as the runtime edges on past the 2 hour mark.

Centred around Sam Worthington’s grieving father Mackenzie Phillips, who is struggling to overcome the abduction and murder of his young daughter Missy, only to one day find himself invited to the “shack” where Missy was killed by Papa aka God.

From here on in Mack gets to enjoy a retreat with godly entities that teach him about life, love, forgiveness and various other life affirming scenarios and what we get is some very misguided melodrama and further evidence that Australian export Worthington needs these long-gestating Avatar sequels to arrive quick smart.

There’s been a number of question marks following Worthington around in the wake of Avatar’s success about just how competent of an actor he in fact is and for anyone that counts themselves as a doubter of Worthington’s acting credentials, The Shack will likely be all the proof you need that the mumbling lead doesn’t possess a great prowess of the big screen.

Literally whispering a majority of his dialogue, struggling to hide his native Australian tinged accent and generally doing the years worst sad/crying face, Worthington is horribly miscast as the tormented Mack, even if scenes of him running on water and wondering a field of souls to make peace with his alcoholic dad provide some of the funniest (even if unintentionally so) film moments of 2017.

Other notable actors like fellow Australian Radha Mitchell and country music star Tim McGraw don’t fare much better in the film while Octavia Spencer’s turn as the cooking/tea drinking Papa is equally as bad as Worthington’s turn and the recognisable actress needs to work a lot harder should she wish to become something more than a regular and tiresome repeater of her career making The Help turn.

Final Say –

A sleep inducing exercise in big-scale faith based movie making, The Shack should never have seen the light of day and without Avatar, this would be a real career killer for Worthington, whose failed to prove he has what it takes to carry a film outside of James Cameron’s 3-D alien landscape. If you can stay awake, The Shack is however one of those so bad its funny film’s, making it a potentially great double bill with The Room.

1 vial of tears out of 5

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