90 Feet From Home
The Dove Take:
Brett Bentman’s film, based on a true story, shows powerfully the way the sins of the father are passed down to their children, and the transformation of forgiveness. But the film’s delivery simply contains too much profanity and violence to receive Dove approval.
An emotionally broken ex-Major League Baseball player returns home to the abusive stepfather who destroyed his life and finds opportunities to exact his revenge.
Fifteen years ago, Jimmy Devine (Shawn Michaels) beat his baseball-playing stepson, Scott (Adam Hampton), and frightened Scott’s brother, Tommy (Thom Hallum), into submission. Now, Scott returns to his hometown to exact his revenge on Jimmy and drags Tommy into a cycle of decisions that draw them closer and closer to destruction.
While the film structures as a thriller, the narrative is really a fleshed-out exploration of how sins of a father carry into the lives of his sons. Exodus 34:6-7 says, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” The film is clearly an Old Testament take on what it means to be guilty —and unforgiven. Questions are raised about the DNA of evil, about the choices and paths we take, and how they are avoidable—or not—depending on our worldview.
90 Feet From Home also wrestles with another biblical principle, a New Testament one, laid out in Romans 12:19: “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” The violence that Jimmy took on Scott leads him to believe that violence is his means to finding peace, that “an eye for an eye” is his way. He wants answers for the evil he experienced in order to make sense of the destruction that corrupted his life from a young age. His quest for revenge will lead him to some terrible places, and the film refuses to provide us with easy answers.