(M) Robert Duvall, Bill Murray, Lucas Black, Sissy Spacek
In a place far, far removed from Thor and the rest of 2011’s blockbuster barrage (The Hangover II to X-Men: First Class), Get Low is not a film for those who think Fast and The Furious 5 is too slow and too clever.
Also, best results are provided if you don’t know much about Get Low when taking your seat in the darkened cinema.
Based on a true American story that has progressively turned into a legend, this unusual and heartfelt drama dares to centre upon a hairy, prickly hermit played by 80-year-old Robert Duvall.
You can’t buy forgiveness. It’s free — but you have to ask for it
Felix Bush has lived in self-imposed exile for most of his days and residents of the nearest town fear and ridicule him.
Set during the 1930s, which are lovingly re-created onscreen, Get Low disguises well the reasons why Bush has shut himself off in a prison of his own making.
When ornery, gruff Bush approaches a preacher about having a funeral for himself — before he dies — the Man Of The Cloth asks several pertinent questions, including, “Have you made your peace with God?”
Cryptically and defiantly, Bush answers, “I’ve paid.”
Offering a sound reply which encapsulates the core intent of Get Low, the preacher says: “You can’t buy forgiveness. It’s free — but you have to ask for it.”
As the gradually softening old-timer becomes involved with a slightly dodgy funeral director (Bill Murray, playing it mostly straight) and his assistant (Lucas Black), the organising of Bush’s pre-funeral funeral is a smokescreen for what is really going on.
Amid an intriguing drama about what Bush did and what he may confess at his own funeral, the real issue is one familiar to all people since time began: can everyone be forgiven?
Aren’t there some things for which we can only expect punishment, not redemption?
As the peripheral involvement of Christianity in Get Low alludes, believers in Jesus Christ understand his sacrificial death on the cross paid for our every sin. Everyone, no matter what they are.
But we need to accept Jesus’ sacrifice, ask for his forgiveness, and actively repent.
Sadly, Bush believes his actions are beyond the jurisdiction of Jesus. “They keep talking about forgiveness,” Bush explains. “Ask Jesus for forgiveness [they say]. I never did nothing to him.”
Such a warped understanding of how every human’s sin deeply affects Jesus and his Heavenly Father should cause us all to ponder how seriously we take asking for forgiveness.
As we are reminded in Romans 8:37-39, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Unless, like Bush and his attitude to forgiveness, you are the one causing the separation.
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