Named after Nicolas Cage’s career, Left Behind is a Christian thriller set during the rapture. Remember the rapture? It was all the rage back in 1981, 1994, 2011 and various other dates for which the event was wrongly predicted.
This 2014 reboot of an unpopular book and film series stars Nic Cage as a pilot en route to a U2 concert. What U2 have to do with the apocalypse is left entirely to our imagination. All the children disappear mid-flight, along with some of the more annoying grown-ups. It can only mean one thing: the rapture. All the pure souls and religious zealots have been carried off to heaven, leaving only the atheists (and Muslims, Jews etc. but the film doesn’t dwell on that aspect for some reason) who once laughed at the fundamentalists. Well, who’s laughing now?
It’s still us. This is one of the most hilariously misjudged movies imaginable. Its religious outlook is so extreme that even Mel Gibson would find it a bit much. It damns all the main characters for their lack of hardcore religiosity, condemning them to the apocalypse – and then expects the audience to root for them. There’s even a priest left behind, because his faith wasn’t strong enough; even though he’d devoted his entire life to the Church, God still found him unworthy and duly punished him. And this is meant to convince us to worship him? Surely no praiseworthy God would allow such a thing. This movie I mean.
If the film provides one good reason to get on God’s good side, it’s to avoid getting left behind with these people. Cassi Thomson plays a college student and Chad Michael Murray a celebrity, both of which might have been convincing 15 years ago. Then there’s a flight attendant (Nicky Whelan) who’s phenomenally bad at her job. Acting I mean. Needless to say, they’re all much better than Nicolas Cage.
Terrible in every conceivable way and several inconceivable ways, Left Behind is intellectually and technically diabolical. It’s like Airplane! as made by religious extremists. To its credit, it will make you start praying. Praying for it to be over.