This movie is stark with its realistic portrayal of a soldier, Denver McCabe (Stacey Shiflett), who is unable to save one of his men and now McCabe suffers from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). His personal involvement in the war may be over, but it is very much alive in his mind. The movie ultimately offers hope in the person of Jesus Christ, but McCabe’s battles are grim and harsh, and his ultimate life on the streets is realistically portrayed. Alcohol and street life become his norm for a time.
The film opens with a disclaimer that the movie is not intended for young or sensitive viewers. Discretion is advised. It’s interesting that the film is based on true events, although some of the circumstances have been switched around.
The movie jumps right into the action, with parachuters about to jump from their helicopter. It’s the year 2014 and a Black Ops team is assigned to a dangerous part of the war. They were frequently on special assignment behind enemy circles.
“We trusted each other without question,” narrates McCabe. “We had to – or we wouldn’t make it home alive.” The team is hot on the trail of Nasir Al-Wuhayshi, the second in command of al-Qaeda. It’s stated that one of his lieutenants had been turned by the C.I.A. and was willing to give up Al-Wuhayshi’s location. In return the lieutenant was promised amnesty. However, McCabe narrates, “Something about this whole thing just didn’t sit right with me. Things were too quiet, too easy.”
Almost immediately McCabe’s team is shot at, and soldier Logan is struck by a bullet. McCabe’s instincts were right, and his team walked into an ambush. McCabe states that after everything went south, he went running for his life and afterward had not been able to stop running. “The flashbacks, the nightmares consumed me,” he says. He knew that Logan was a Christian man and after losing both Logan and soldier Cooper, McCabe found it impossible to move forward. His wife, Lisa (Grace Shiflett), bore the “brunt of the pain,” declares McCabe. “She didn’t deserve the monster that I had become,” he says.
We find there are more bottoms for McCabe to hit before he discovers a resurrected life that only Christ can provide. “I ran for months,” he says, “fast and hard, but before long I was living on the street and completely worthless to society.” He was constantly drinking, attempting to bury his pain “in the bottom of a bottle.” And when a streetwise man named Marco (Gordon McCain) gets Denver hooked on drugs, his descent is even further downward and very swift. His guilt over the failed mission and that it was his fault gnaws away at him. The flashbacks of the shooting continue to haunt him, and he is soon helping Marco by stealing people’s wallets and identities. It is apparent that McCabe can’t sink much lower, but his wife continues to pray for him and to trust in Jesus for his redemption.
There are several things to think about while viewing this film. The use of drugs, needles, and constant drinking are featured in the film. As McCabe continues to narrate his descent into darkness, the film takes on a solemn, almost depressing tone. It is in the eventual triumph of McCabe finding Christ that gives the movie an emotional impact and it contrasts the light with the darkness very well. The movie is dedicated to the memory of Warren Garraway, who is featured in the film as the man who witnesses to McCabe and wins him to Christ. McCabe is a different man at the end of this movie and this can lead to some powerful discussions with older kids who watch the movie with parents. This movie will be a FREE evangelistic resource for churches, ministries, and non-profit organizations to use in reaching people with the hope of Jesus Christ. Scenes have also been carefully portrayed, making this film a great tool to warn young people of the dangers and vices of sin.
This movie features a dramatic and powerful score, written by Daniel Myers. And Stacey Shiflett (McCabe) contributed to the story, written by Caleb and Katie Garraway. McCabe’s transformation is powerfully portrayed in the film, and the ending is very satisfying. The film has earned our Dove seal for Ages 12+, although parents should consult the content listing to make informed decisions. McCabe becomes a true shining example of the Lord in an unexpected way and even Marco finds his way to church!
THE DOVE TAKE: Like light and darkness, this film gives us two sides to the character of Denver McCabe, and clearly illustrates the powerful changes that Christ can make in a person’s life. You can watch Redeeming Hope on the website or YouTube.