Surfing the Scripture
Luke Harris (Justin Schwan) is a talented young surfer and it is pretty much all that matters to him. But it leads to conflict at home as not only does his dad, David (Greg Carlson), demand that he quits surfing to focus on college but it leads to arguments between his dad and his mum (Raquel Gardner) as she thinks David is being too tough on him. To try and make Luke grow up they insist he goes to the church run by Pastor Shane (Danny Smith) where he also meets cute red-head Emily (Kelsey Sanders). But as Luke tries to get a place on a local surfing team tragedy strikes which force Luke to take stock of his life and the way he has been living it.
As always when it comes to Christian Cinema I try to picture who a movie is for and "Cutback" is clearly a movie which really targets a Christian teen audience including those who have just become a Christian. But it isn't exclusively for a teen market and as a forty something who hasn't been to church for many a year it did a surprisingly good job of grabbing my attention and keeping it thanks not only to the story but because as a whole it has much better production values and acting than you typically get from faith based movies.
Now I have mentioned that "Cutback" is a faith based/ Christian movie a few times already and as such those who watch it because they thought it was a surfing movie should be aware. In fact whilst there are some nice scenes of surfing it isn't a surf movie but more of a teenage coming of age movie with a focus on Luke not only reaching an age where he needs to think of the bigger picture but having to deal with major loss for the first time. As such "Cutback" deals with Luke having to see that in life we have to do things we may not like, have to deal with what seems like the pointless loss of someone close to them as well as understanding that you shouldn't give up and walk away from things just because they're not working at the moment.
This of course leads through to the Christian side of the movie as Luke struggles with things and almost rallies against the church as he is forced to attend. Now what is so good about this side of "Cutback" is that it doesn't get biblical, it doesn't go fire and brimstone but it takes the bible and its teachings and makes it current, making it work for a situation. It is one of the reasons why "Cutback" impressed me as a piece of Christian cinema as it knows who its target audience is and fine tunes the production towards them. Plus it also does a good job of showing that modern Christianity is not stiff but about normal people using the teachings of Christ to guide them through life and as such church isn't just a place for the "dorky" types but a place for everyone.
What this all boils down to is that as a piece of Christian Cinema "Cutback" impressed me with a decent story, a good cast, surprisingly good production values but mostly because it delivers what the target audience needs. My only negative and it is a negative I have with so many pieces of Christian cinema is that almost at the same point in every movie we get a contemporary piece of Christian music which whilst nice overwhelms the production.