- Raja Gosnell and Alicia Joy LeBlan
- Run Time
- 57 minutes
- Not Rated
VP Content Ratings
- Sex & Nudity
- Star Rating
Truly God is good to the upright,[a]
to those who are pure in heart.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled;
my steps had nearly slipped.
For I was envious of the arrogant;
I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…
This is a delightful blend of fantasy and religion of which I think the author of The Screwtape Letters would approve. How often have you noticed or paid attention, during your stay overs at a hotel or motel, to one of those black-bound books on a table or in the drawer with stationery and tourist information? Imagine if one of those Bibles could talk about its effect on one of the occupants of the room—and you have this film, based on the play by Bradley Gosnell and Daniel Floren.
The writers also play the two leads, and to give polish to their productions, they engaged Raja Gosnell and Alicia Joy LeBlanc, two film professionals with a long list of accomplishments in directing, writing, acting, and editing. The result is a film that amuses, inspires, and challenges, no mean accomplishment for a medium that I have long criticized, the faith based film. Little preaching; no “come to Jesus” climax; but lots of amusement and a serious challenge to examine one’s faith and the too-easy assumptions it sometimes fosters.
We first, naturally, meet Daniel Floren’s personification of the hotel Bible. Guess what his name is—no contest is it, of course, it’s Gideon, or “Gid” for short. (That intrepid band of men who donate their time and money to seeing that a copy of the Bible is placed in every hotel/motel room in the world deserve such a screen credit!) He speaks to the audience, sometimes amusingly, as when he observes that he does not get out very much. He is preparing us for the intense encounter with the desperate Pete (Bradley Gosnell), who checks into the room from which he plans to launch forth on his mission of vengeance. His girl is with a new lover, and they also are guests at the hotel . Pete has brought the gun of the movie’s title, and it is not for his protection.
The suspense lies in the question of whether Gid can convince the would-be murderer to give up his mission or not. Gid, of course, is armed with THE Commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” but Pete has a ready come-back. Through history the Bible has been used as an instrument justifying killing. He quotes the unfortunate commandment, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Gid has an answer to this, but as their debate launches out into deeper theological waters, his answers are less certain. Pete knows the easy answers, having once been a believer himself, so he is not easy pushover for Gid. Indeed, more questions hang in the air than answers, and so the outcome is far less of a sure thing than the usual faith film would have us believe.
The independent drama was highly honored at last year’s LA Live Film Festival, given seven top awards. These included “Best Feature.” It also took all top awards at Content 19 Christian Film Festival, and was nominated for Best Film at the Canadian International Faith & Family Film Festival, suggesting that faith based filmmakers are maturing into artists daring to raise questions that are not easily answered—or, indeed, for which there is no answer short of the coming of the Kingdom. For those wanting to explore the darker side of the Bible—of those passages dealing with commands to commit genocide, tales of mistreatment of women, approval of slavery, of the view of an angry God taught by some passages—this film provides the opportunity. Check this out when it becomes available for rent and purchase on various platforms on January 5.
Note: The film’s producers have a good guide that you can access by clicking here.
This review will be in the January issue of VP along with a set of questions for reflection and/or discussion. If you have found reviews on this site helpful, please consider purchasing a subscription or individual issue in The Store.
2 Replies to “Gun and a Hotel Bible (2020)”
Great review, Ed. Here’s a link to mine. My favorite quote was, speaking of the Gid/the Bible: “Don’t most hotels at least have the courtesy to leave you in a drawer?”
Great hearing from you, Sister Rose. Thanks for the link–I will follow it soon–and for the reminder of the delightful bit of dialogue. I had forgotten it.