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The List (DVD)
Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Chuck Carrington, Hilarie Burton, Will Patton, Pat Hingle, Mary Beth Peil, Elizabeth Omilami, Tim Ware and Nicholas Pryor
Director: Gary Wheeler
Scriptwriters: Gary Wheeler, Michelle Hoppe-Long, Johnston H. Moore and Robert Whitlow (based on his novel)
Music: James Covell
Cinematography: Tom Priestley
20th Century Fox Faith/Level Path Productions
Rating: PG (thematic elements, brief peril and smoking)
Running Length: 108 minutes
The film adaptation of Robert Whitlow’s novel, The List is about as far into fighting evil as a PG film would allow. You certainly get the idea that evil exists in this story from beginning scenes to Malcolm McDowell as an overly-smiling southern gentleman. There is even a blood oath. In the meantime, ways to combat evil as presented in the story, with prayer and righteous people in the forefront.
The story begins during Civil War times when a group of wealthy southerners decided to take Confederacy funds and put them away for safe keeping. Hence, “The List” being names of everyone involved. As years passed and we come into the 21st century, the descendents of these men have controlled money and people’s lives. However, the group is getting smaller through death and the scarcity of male heirs. Enter Renny (Chuck Carrington) who was raised by a housekeeper, is a young lawyer and finds out that his father just died. Renny goes to the funeral and learns that his inheritance (millions of dollars) is going to a “society” and all Renny gets are gold coins. Renny also meets with a young woman named Jo (Hilarie Burton) who, also, just buried her father. It turns out both men belonged to this “society.”
They are invited for a weekend to the Laroquette Estate (Malcolm McDowell’s abode) where Jo is excluded from the “society” because she is a woman, but Renny is handily taken in, complete with a new red corvette and blood oath. As days pass, Renny becomes uneasy about this arrangement and an investigation begins. Secrets are unearthed and Renny has to make a choice as to follow evil or to pull himself together and go against evil, with the help of his missionary landlady and a Christian counselor. All this against the backdrop of the Deep South, well photographed by Tom Priestley.
Chuck Carrington and Hilarie Burton play off each other well. They make their respective situations believable. Also believable is the society, comprised of power-hungry McDowell, plus Pat Hingle, Nicholas Pryor and others. The story shows the choices that must be made, losses (personal and financial) can occur, but that there is help available with good people and prayer. Will Patton makes a cameo appearance as Michael and when he first appears in a church you can just about figure out who he really is.
The List is the type of film you want to watch in the evening with the lights out. It can frighten you, but not that much, and the light switch is always within reach. Malcolm McDowell makes a good villain and my favorite role of his is Blue Thunder with the late Roy Schneider. Director Gary Wheeler frames his cast just right, so you get the actors, plus enough relevant background. All in all, The List is top entertainment with well-known stars and an intriguing look at secret societies. This DVD comes with commentary from director and stars, plus Bible discussion and deleted scenes.
Copyright 2008 Marie Asner
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