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Culture Movies

<em>Faith of Our Fathers</em>

(Ryan Michael Hackett)


Faith of Our Fathers

Two soldiers spend the final 72 hours of their lives discussing God and writing home. Almost 30 years later, their sons meet and travel to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. In Faith of Our Fathers, writers Kevin Downes and David A.R. White advance a promising story, but their own amateurish acting hamstrings its unfolding.

John Paul George (Downes) and Wayne Adams (White) grow up without their fathers, who perished together on a mission in Vietnam. John Paul, a Christian, knows nothing about his father, Steven. Wayne is a loner who has run afoul of the law since his teen years.

John Paul tracks down Wayne and shows up unannounced on his doorstep. Wayne will share correspondence written during the Vietnam War by his father, Eddie (Scott Whyte), only if John Paul agrees to ride along as Wayne drives him to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Faith of Our Fathers (rated PG-13 for brief war violence) alternates between 1969 and the 1997 road trip John Paul and Wayne take to Washington, D.C. Eddie writes letters from the battlefield about Steven (Sean McGowan), “Preacher Boy” to their snickering comrades. Steven responds compassionately to Eddie’s softening skepticism while their commanding officer (Stephen Baldwin) tries to curb Steven’s evangelism: “You wouldn’t be preparing my men for death, now would you?” John Paul shares his faith with his cynical driver as the two discuss their fathers’ friendship.

Although the Vietnam storyline is compelling and well-acted, Downes’ and White’s exaggerated mannerisms make much of the road trip painful to watch. Inside the car, the camera ping-pongs between John Paul and Wayne as stock highway footage trails from the side and rear windows, exacerbating the sit-com feel. Cameos by Rebecca St. James and Duck Dynasty’s Si Robertson bring only brief relief.

The stumbling block in Faith of Our Fathers is not the gospel, of which plenty is shared, but the screenwriters casting themselves.