Last Ounce of Courage
Few people in our society today really know the cost of freedom. Few people ever stop and think about the sacrifices made by our Armed Forces, but for Vietnam POW rescuer Bob Revere, the price of freedom is a daily remembrance as he lives life without his son, Tomas, who left for the war in Iraq and never came home. And not only is it a reality for Bob, but it is also a reality for Kari, Tomas’ pregnant bride, and his son Christian, who is only a few months old when his Father is killed.
Our movie takes off from here, moving ahead to 14 years down the road when Kari and Christian move back in with Bob and his wife Dottie. Bob is no longer a freedom fighter; instead, he is a pharmacist and the Mayor, beloved by many in the town. But Bob still lives with great grief and guilt. All of that is about to change, though, when Christian is called into the Principles office for bringing his father’s bible to school. While it riles Bob, he takes the incident sitting down, but Christian holds his father’s sacrifices too close to stay quiet for long.
One fateful night, as the family sits around the TV watching Fox news, Bill O’Reilly challenges the American people over their complacency towards allowing society to remove Christ from Christmas. Suddenly, Christian turns off the TV. “What did my Dad die for?” Christian demands. The answer is clear. He fought for his family’s freedoms, which leads Christian to ask “Then what are we doing?”
The gauntlet has been cast, and Bob begins to have his fire put back under him. The American people aren’t doing enough, and he is going to ensure that the sacrifice his son made is not in vain! So, as Mayor, he’s going to ensure that their little town sets the example, and becomes Christmas city. It’s a small step, but it’s the first step in a revolution he wants to see take place. It’s time to take back Christmas, but more importantly, it’s time to take back our freedoms. But while Bob may be ready to fight for his freedoms, others are ready to fight to keep him in his place.
Freedom should never be taken for granted, and that’s something this movie wants to ensure doesn’t happen. The freedom he’s going to start with, is freedom of religion. While this movie could have easily turned into a movie about Christmas, it really wasn’t. Sure, Christmas is a back drop for the entire film, but Bob’s true cause is the freedom Christians have to be able to express their convictions openly and without fear. One of the things I loved that the movie did was it made the point that people of other religions—he mentions Muslims and Jews—should be similarly free to erect symbols of their faith in public places, even on Christmas. That is true freedom.
Multiple characters in this movie, most specifically Bob, are willing to stand up against stiff resistance to fight for their freedoms and rights. What’s more, I love the fact that Bob did his research before beginning this crusade, ensuring he is
soundly grounded in legal and historical validation for his actions.
The message of Freedom is closely tied to the message of faith. Bob’s American flag has a cross affixed to the top of the pole, and his efforts largely revolve around the public placement of symbolic representations of Christ, Christianity and the Christmas story—whether its crosses, Christmas trees with angels hanging on them or party invitations that boast a “Merry Christmas” greeting. In a letter to his wife, we also hear Thomas say, “God’s been watching over me. One hundred eighty one days I’ll be home, Lord willing”, and there is talk of praying for troops who are putting their lives on the line.
The only sexual content in this movie is a kiss between Thomas and Kari before he leaves for war and a brief kiss between Kari and Greg 14 years later. The foulest word you will hear in the movie is heck, and the only drugs or alcohol content is a beer sign in the background of a bar and our villain smoking a cigar, making this movie very clean. The only element that could be disturbing are the war clips shown in the film. There are explosions and gunfire, but all of it is kept to a PG. One scene shows a flashback to Bob’s time in Vietnam, depicting a POW rescue that went tragically. This event is narrated by Bob to his wife. Most of the men in Bob’s unit were killed, and we see him cradling a soldier suffering from head and neck wounds. The most disturbing element of the movie, though, is also the most powerful, and in my honest opinion should not cause anyone to stay away from this movie. I will not give away the details, as that would be a spoiler, but it is not graphic, just startling.
While I don’t generally deal with this aspect of movies in my reviews, I felt like I needed to with this film. Last Ounce of Courage is a low budget film, reminiscent of when Facing the Giants first hit theaters. The camera shots are not clever, and the lighting is often off in parts, but for me, that made it better in some ways. Why? Because it gives me hope. Some of my recent movie experiences have left me depressed over the state of the movie industry. We have so many potentially good stories that get ruined by foul content or have an underlying agenda. This movie gave me hope. It reminded me that the little guys are still trying to make a difference and are not compromising their story in order to sell more tickets. This film group had a point to make, and they didn’t let budget stop them.
The story was cheesy in some places and powerful in others. The villain was a bit flat, and some moments felt a bit off, but none of that really distracted from the message. A powerful message that needs telling.
In addition, while doing some searching on the movie, I found out that Campbell’s motivation for writing this story closely mirrored Bob’s. The struggles the Revere family endured were trigged by the heroic men in his own family, men who served in wars and also died in them. Set against the backdrop of American soldiers’ courageous sacrifice to preserve our way of life, Campbell hopes the film will be a catalyst for renewed conversation revolving around the question, “What can I do to make sure their sacrifice is not in vain?”
If you liked Fireproof or Facing the Giants, you will like this movie. If you are a Christian, you should see and support this movie in theaters. If you are an American, regardless of religious beliefs, you should see this movie. Why? Because America needs a renewed sense of the cost of freedom. They need to be reminded of the importance of not taking our religious liberties in America for granted.
“We’re losing freedoms that people died for,” Bob says. “We’re asleep. Wake up! We can’t sleep anymore.” I totally agree, as I have seen in my own personal life people discount the sacrifices made for us to be free. Sacrifices which my Great Grandfather and Grandfather fought in wars for, and which my Father served for. We are complacent, and we live in a time where it is easy to object to war and patriotism, especially for those who have no concept of the sacrifices and have never been subjected to the great men that serve in the Armed Forces. Wake up America, and wake up Christians. For if you do not, they will have died in vain, and you will no longer be free.