For the past couple of weeks, the Papyrus has run “Christians Rated R” part I and part II discussing why and how Christians should go about engaging Rated “R” films. (We have worked to provide a method/argument for a way of coming to these films on their own terms while still retaining a Christian identity). This week concludes this series with a final installment that explores an “R” rated film in an attempt to put our thoughts into practice. I have chosen for this piece a film from the late 90s entitled The Boondock Saints. Essentially, the film is about two Irish brothers who, after defending themselves and others in a bar fight, are attacked by low-level enforcers for the Russian mob. The brothers end up killing the enforcers, after which they receive a prophetic call from God to go and smite out that which is evil so that “that which is good may flourish.” The brothers go about systematically tracking down members of the Russian mob and other criminals who they believe are doing evil things. In this process, they develop a relationship with a federal detective who tries to discern whether or not what the brothers are doing is righteous. The brothers believe that they are acting in the truth and justice of God, for they are doing what is necessary to keep the tyranny of evil at bay. The overall sentiment of the film is that the indifference of good people is a worse evil than intentionally evil actions.
Since the Hollywood first began its assault on humanity with all of its ubiquitous glitz and glamour, it has been known to push the envelope concerning objectionable content. While it is not alone in this direction (music, theatre, and any form of the arts are also known for this), the purpose of this article is to address movies, though the views presented here could be taken into the other categories as well. As Christians, many of us are more than ready to push back against this style of movie-making. It conveys a lifestyle and actions that we do not agree with, and therefore it is our responsibility to ensure that such movies do not get made. However, is this a truly justified stance? Can there be some truth found in movies that contain objectionable content? Could there be some “good” in rated R movies? Overall, is it wise to see a movie that seemingly goes against what is written on the hearts of Christians?