Release Date: April 19, 2002
Limited release


On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
111/214 Max Braden This starts of slowly, in the purgatory between drama a thriller. By the end it makes you question the good idea of having children.

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Joshua, the ambitious first production of Epiphany Films, Crusader Entertainment's recently-created indie production company, has suddenly appeared on the horizon for release in April. The fledgling company is attempting to create films that are successful at the box office while still managing to key upon themes of spirituality and enlightenment. After the shocking success of Omega Code, expectations have grown quite high for the genre of cinematic religious entertainment. Joshua hopes to mimic this pattern, rather than the box-office failures of Left Behind and Omega Code 2: Megiddo. Those two most recent films in this vein have a combined total of $10.2 million, compared to Omega Code's $12.6 million, so it's imperative that Joshua be marketed better if it wants to be a solid foundation for the achievement of Crusader's goals.

A straightforward evaluation of Joshua shows that it is most easily analogized to Left Behind, since both are based upon best-selling novels about the return to Earth of Jesus Christ. The film plots diverge completely after this surface similarity, since Joshua is not at all apocalyptic but instead a simple tale of the possible influence of one man upon a small town.

The story begins when a gentle carpenter named Joshua moves to the outskirts of a small town and begins to do work for the locals. They are mystified by his selfless ways to the point that many grow suspicious of his altruistic nature. As scattered reports come in about him performing inhuman feats of strength and faith healings, the townspeople completely overreact and force the local clergy to confront Joshua about the situation. The story is poised to be an insightful look at what ordinary people do when faced with extraordinary events. The notion of the arrival of Christ into the world is generally aggrandized to situations such as in Left Behind, where his return signifies doom to the sinners of the world. Joshua deftly avoids this cliché by flying in the face of convention and arguing that if we make suppositions based upon the way Jesus Christ is described in the Bible, it makes sense that his return would be low-key and subtle in nature. Expanding upon this concept to analyze how cynical we have become as a race is nothing short of brilliant, even if you consider the religious aspect of it nothing but mythology.

By the way, for those of you wondering why this concept sounds familiar, there was a Toto video in 1984 called Stranger in Town which dealt with the same concept, although in their version, Jesus was also a suspect for murder. The key lyric is:

Who's this man who fell out of the sky?
What's he done and where's he live?
How can a man who's a criminal be a hero to the kids?
The old couple swear that the Ripper's back
They say it's him all right.
The young girl says it's Jesus
And he won't be back again tonight
I wonder who's right?

It's important to note that while the distinctions are dramatic between the song and book's executions of this idea, both argue that the only people capable of true faith these days are children. Adults are simply too jaded.

How is that for quiet damnation? (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for Joshua
Main Cast Tony Goldwyn, F. Murray Abraham, Kurt Fuller
Supporting Cast Stacy Edwards, Giancarlo Giannini, Tim Grimm
Director Jon Purdy
Screenwriter Brad Mirman, Keith Giglio
Distributor Artisan Entertainment
Official Site
Rating G
Running Time 90 minutes
Screen Count 215
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Joshua
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Omega Code, The 10/15/992.35 2.80 304 7730.00 8825.6 12.46 14.84 5.30
Left Behind 2/2/012.16 2.30 867 2490.00 2556.1 4.11 4.38 1.90



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