It’s intrinsic to a concept like the 1001 list that people will wonder why a particular film is on there. Even after reading the Book’s passage about the film, these wonderings may not fully go away, and it will seem, even through all you can find about the film, that there is no conspicuous reason that the film should be on there. Such is the case, with me at least, with The Rapture, a film starring Mimi Rogers about the titular Biblical event. I started the film with this wonderment in mind, and aimed to discover why this was deemed important, significant, or even good enough to make the list. I ended it probably more angry at a film I’ve been since Vinyl, and thats saying something. There was something to this film, especially for the faith-driven market, but the film itself just goes about it in all the wrong ways. Let me explain.
Mimi Rogers plays Sharon, a hedonistic woman living a life of nothing as a phone operator. She ends up becoming a born-again Christian, and either sees or dreams that the Rapture prophesied in the Bible is soon to occur, so she takes her daughter out to the desert with promises that they’ll meet her murdered father in Heaven when God comes for them. I won’t go any further than that, but the film ends up taking an angle that will likely divide the audience into love-it-or-hate-it camps, and I wouldn’t begrudge them for it, mostly because of how the film goes about making things happen, in particular how Sharon goes about her character arc. So, here’s how the character change of Sharon works in The Rapture: she overhears some of her coworkers talking about dreams they have been having. Later, a couple of Christian converters come knocking on her door, which she shrugs off even after inviting them in. Then, using some info she gains from another of her liaisons, she tries to fake her way into her coworkers’ circle of discussion, but fails. Then, the very next scene, she wakes up in the middle of the night, and declares to her lover, whom she just had sex with, that she is a convert and wants to be saved, and immediately (literally on the spot) starts practicing Christian beliefs like not taking the Lord’s name in vain. Let me give a very short lesson on how to develop characters in a believable manner; watch The Rapture. Okay? Okay; this is not how to do it. Let’s put all the religious stuff on the back-burner, and just look at how the filmmakers of The Rapture take the character of Sharon and shape her characterization and the events that happen to her so that her change is an acceptable one to us, the viewers; they don’t. The change in Sharon is literally the filmmakers flipping a switch in Sharon’s mind from “sin-loving sleaze” to “born-again purity” with absolutely zero incentive for the character to make this switch; she just does because the script commands that she do it at that point in the film. I cannot express to you how infuriating this was for me, so much so that when the film continued and had an actual, genuine point of change for Sharon to renounce her ways and join the faith, albeit a somewhat “Hollywood” one, after it had already tried and failed, I couldn’t buy into it; it just seemed like the film had spilled its puzzle pieces all over the floor and was hastily trying to reassemble them in the right order. From there, the film just made bad decision after bad decision, and what was worse was that the film didn’t have any clout to its name or any foundation behind the decisions it made; it just made them because it was expected to, or because the script called for it. I’m sorry, but I can’t get behind a script, and a film, that does that; it’s almost as bad as a film that just doesn’t even try, which this is but a stone’s throw away from. Not quite, but almost.
I don’t know what I was expecting, if indeed I was expecting anything, but I certainly wasn’t expecting to end up disliking this so intensely. This was a mess, plain and simple, and it probably angered me even more that it appeared, at least for early 90s’ standards, to be a pretty well made mess. In response to my initial statements in the opener, I can’t even begin to wonder why this made the 1001 list, and frankly, I’m not going to spend another second wondering; this shouldn’t be on there at all. There’s plenty of other religious-themed films that are far better with what they do than this. I’ll give it a point or two for effort, but that’s all that this is getting from me.
Arbitrary Rating: 5/10