Christian Review Magazine Issue 2 - Jan/Feb 2015 - Page 27

“If you fight with God, you’re gonna lose.” MOVIE - Daniel McAllister REVIEW n the Heart of Texas sits Smith, Van Zandt, and Henderson counties with a combined population of 335, 570. Described as the ‘buckle of the Bible Belt’, there are 1,400 churches in this one area of Texas. Little Hope Was Arson is the story of ten of them. I Title: LITTLE HOPE WAS ARSON Rating: Directed by: Theo Love Genre: Documentary Running Time: In East Texas, during January and early February 2010, ten churches were burned to the ground within a forty mile radius. Authorities quickly realized that the church burnings were the work of arsonists, at least two, and a massive manhunt ensued. Churchgoers living in area were understandably scared, with many ‘goodol’ boys’ hanging out at their places of worship armed to the nines just in case the arsonists decided to turn up and try to burn their sanctuaries. Released by: It didn’t take long for the authorities to discover who was behind the arsons, and on February 21, 2010, Jason Robert Bourque, 19, and Daniel McAllister, 21, were arrested and charged. Faced with overwhelming evidence, both men pleaded guilty. Then in January 2011, Bourque and McAllister were sentenced. Reviewed by: But that was just the beginning of the story for these two young men. 71 minutes MPAA Rating: Not Rated Production Company: theCollaborate, Good Night Smoke The Orchard Christian St John Release Date: Out Now : Select Theaters Little Hope Was Arson is a powerful piece of documentary filmmaking. It really gets to the heart of the story and digs deep to uncover the why and wherefores of the crimes. It details for the viewer both sides of the story - those affected by the arsons and the stories of the arsonists themselves. The production itself is excellent - the picture and sound are clear, and the music really helps to add atmosphere to an already haunting film. As such this is a highly watchable film. As Little Hope Was Arson is a documentary, there is actual footage of the church burnings and interviews with those present at the time, including some pretty angry churchgoers. There are also some recent interviews with the families of the arsonists and with the arsonists themselves that further expands and deepens the storytelling. Little Hope Was Arson is an engaging and pulse-pounding documentary that moved and challenged me in ways most other documentaries fail to - I was again reminded that the church Jesus spoke of is not a building but people; that there is always a story - a series of events - behind every action, thought and crime, even hate crimes; and that everyone, no matter what they’ve done, are loved unconditionally by God and given chance upon chance in His grace and mercy… even those who burn down places of worship! CHRISTIAN REVIEW > 27