Thursday, June 05, 2003


One of our Act One faculty members, author and screenwriter James Scott Bell, sent me the following heads-up about a docudrama that aired recently on the FX channel. They will certainly air it many more times so keep an eye out for it.

Don't know if anyone saw the FX movie last night, 44 Minutes. It was a docu-drama about that infamous shootout out here in a Los Angeles suburb, in 1997, when two guys in full body armor and with assault rifles tried to rob a Bank of America, and ended up shooting everything and everyone they could--and, miraculously, no one but the two of them ended up dead.

FX is an upstart, "cutting edge" network (shows like The Shield) that pushes the envelope on taste and language. Thus, this movie had four letter words and plenty of blood.


One of the lead characters was an African-American cop who is an up-front evangelical Christian. We see him at the beginning reading his Bible and praying that God will help him to do right. As I watched that I thought, "Uh-oh, here comes the fanatic, maybe he's one of the shooters."


We next see this cop arresting a 16 year old gangbanger wannabe, sitting him down in the squad car, and showing him pictures of slain gang leaders...trying to scare the kid straight. The kid has attitude. Nothing is going to work.

Then, the cop and his partner get the call about the bank robbery. They drive over. So, the cop decides to let the kid go, because this is more important. The cop then gives the kid a small, worn, hand sized Bible and says, "Read this."

The kid looks at him quizzically. "Huh? Read what?"

Cop: "Whatever applies to you."

He presses the Bible in the kid's hand and dashes off. The story progresses. The Christian cop is shown behaving bravely in battle, and then gets shot. He's almost going to die. But near the end of the movie he's rescued.


As he is being put into an ambulance, we see the kid. He has reappeared. He is looking at the cop with concern. The cop sees him. The kid nods at the cop and shows him he's still got the Bible.

My wife and I were stunned and pleased and, yes, amazed. Here, in the least likely of places (FX) was not just a respectful, but a downright favorable, portrait of a Christian man.

If you get the chance to see this movie, do so. It is well made and realistic (I remember watching the news coverage, with mouth agape, that this was happening a few miles away.) And it has a real Christian message in there. The cop, at the end, reminisces and says, "It was truly a miracle that no one else was killed."

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