Directed by: Alex Kendrick | 120 minutes | drama | Actors: Karen Abercrombie, Priscilla C. Shirer, T.C. Stallings, Tenae Downing, Alena Pitts, Michael Jr., Jadin Harris, Alex Kendrick, Dave Blamey, Thomas Ford, Tyler Mitchell, Roland Mitchell, Andrew Hurt, Terrence Evans, Toochuckwu T.C. Anyachonkeya
Hollywood seems to see more and more bread in making religiously tinted films. Affirm Films, part of Sony Pictures Entertainment, aims to connect audiences with faith-based films that inspire, uplift and challenge. Films like ‘When the Game Stands Tall’, ‘Moms’ Night Out’ (both out on DVD in the Netherlands), but also recent cinema release ‘Risen’ were produced by them, each different in genre and format, but with one common denominator: the Christian faith plays an important role. War Room, released directly to DVD by Sony, is no different. And that is certainly worthy of advance warning.
“War Room” is about the Jordan family. Mother Elizabeth works as a real estate agent, father Tony is a representative of medicines and daughter Danielle gets too little attention from both of them, but especially from dad (Mum is still under the assumption that she has a reasonable relationship with her daughter). The relationship between man and woman can also use a major turn, they hardly see each other and when they are together in one room, there is only a quarrel. About money, about that good-for-nothing brother-in-law, everything is used to argue with each other. In the church, he looks at the legs of a female churchgoer with an approving grin on his mouth, while his wife catches that look in disdain. Goes well there!
When Elizabeth has to sell elderly Clara Williams’ house, something clicks between the two women. A follow-up appointment is made and Clara shows Elizabeth her favorite place in the house, you guessed it, the title is explained. The “War Room” is nothing more than a walk-in closet, which has been completely emptied. This is where Clara spends most of her time praying, it turns out. That has helped her in the past. Sensing that Elizabeth has marital problems, she has made a commitment to familiarize her with the world of “letting God fight for you.” By praying, Elizabeth can save her marriage. And that is exactly what happens.
For many people, ‘War Room’ will be like watching an instructional video in which it is said that you should eat a lot of ice cream if you want to lose weight, give your plants fabric softener once a month, if you want them to grow well or you have to park your car in the driveway of the neighbors every day if you aspire to a better relationship with them. The message is so averse to all logic and makes you rattle your ears so much that it is surprising that the film is so well put together in terms of production technology. The sets are worth putting through a ring, the camerawork is perfectly fine and the actors also get away with the sometimes cringing dialogues. The Double Dutch scenes bring some air into the story. But all that makes “War Room” definitely not recommended. Apart from the unsubtle way in which souls are won for the church here, the film is at least forty minutes too long.