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Peter: The Redemption
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Peter: The Redemption is a feature-length tale that takes place in the palace of Nero, Emperor of Rome, decades after Jesus's death. Peter, now an elderly man, is the foremost "rabbi" who preaches Christianity and leads an ever-growing group of those who follow the word of Jesus. Christian precepts are integral to the story. Based on early writings and biblical references, the film expands upon events from the onset of Peter's imprisonment to his crucifixion to detail the challenges Christians faced in their devotion to their newfound faith. A series of violent events (flogging, stabbing deaths, as well as two bloody crucifixions) are used to illustrate anti-Christian sentiment and Nero's relentless evil. Some of the action (i.e., burning and torture), takes place just off camera; to make the resulting agony clear, sounds of terror, pain, and helplessness are frequently heard in the background. Nero is also portrayed in several scenes as a sexual predator as he attempts to corrupt a beautiful servant girl.
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What's the story?
In PETER: THE REDEMPTION, set years after Jesus Christ's death, the dominance of the Roman Emperor Nero (Stephen Baldwin) is threatened by the Christians. Peter the Apostle (John Rhys-Davies) is the leader of the converts, so Nero imprisons and tortures him, expecting the man will both confess to setting recent fires in Rome and denounce his faith. But Peter remains steadfast. Sent to administer to the old man's wounds, Susanna (Brittany Bristow), servant to Nero's wife and a secret Christian herself, becomes Peter's ally. Their only hope is Martinian (Steve Byers), commander of the guard, who appears to be a thoughtful and moral man despite his allegiance to Nero. As the time for a long-anticipated festival draws closer, the stakes get higher for the evil Nero. Either the Christians must deny Jesus's word, or they must be executed as examples to the citizens of Rome. In the chaotic climate of death and destruction that Nero's actions set in motion, it becomes ever clearer that he is no match for Peter's faith and the growing legions of believers who follow him.
Is it any good?
Solid Christian messages and values cannot save this inept, amateurish effort to tell the story of the late years and martyrdom of the Apostle Peter. Despite a fine performance by John Rhys-Davies and an accomplished one by Brittany Bristow as Susanna, the production's directing, writing, sets, costumes, and performances combine to detract from the intended messages. (Stephen Baldwin's "Nero" is so outrageous that it's unintentionally comic from the outset.) The bloody violence and the exaggerated and histrionic sounds of off-camera wailing and terror mean that even kids who enjoy faith-based movies and biblical stories might find it disturbing. Not recommended.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the fact that biblical stories are often bloody and violent. In Peter: The Redemption, while the filmmakers have opted not to try to portray Christians being tortured and burned, they used sounds instead of visuals. Do you think this technique made the violence less disturbing or more disturbing than actually showing the events? Why?
Many movies use one person's journey to show a significant cultural or intellectual change. How does Martinian's personal transition from soldier who follows orders blindly to righteous Christian help the filmmakers deliver their messages to the audience?
The story here develops and expands upon ancient texts. The romance between Susanna and Martinian is the writer's creation. How does that story contribute to an audience's interest in and enjoyment of the material? Do you think it was a successful plot element?
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