Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage


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Reviewed by C.J. Darlington

"...a powerful storyline and a killer ending."

Unless you’ve lived in a cave for the past few years, you’ve probably heard of Ted Dekker, the best-selling author of over a dozen novels. His twisty plots and suspense-filled stories have won him fans all over the globe. In 2003 Westbow Press (now Thomas Nelson) published Thr3e, Dekker’s first hardcover novel. It’s also the first of Dekker’s books to make it to the big screen. And Thr3e, the movie, is everything you’d expect from a Dekker story. Action from the first shot, unrelenting suspense, and a nice slew of explosions.

Kevin Parsons is a seminary student on the verge of great things. Then everything changes. Driving home from campus one fateful day, Kevin’s cell phone rings. A gravelly, ominous voice demands he confess his sins in 90 seconds or his car will blow up—with him in it. Barely escaping with his life, Kevin’s world flips when the killer contacts him again. And again. With the help of criminal psychologist Jennifer Peters (who believes the killer is the same psychopath who murdered her brother) and his childhood friend Samantha, Kevin desperately seeks to unravel the identity of the stalker. But how many innocent lives will be lost in the process? What “sin” is the killer talking about? And can Kevin really trust Jennifer with his life?

Filmed in Poland with a 2.4 million budget and directed by Robby Henson, I found myself reminded of The Interpreter in several instances (the bus explosion, the darkness of some of the shots, and the suspense). Actor Marc Blucas makes Kevin jump off the pages and into our lives. He gives Kevin just enough innocence and empathy without making him a weakling. Although the child actors in the movie come off somewhat wooden, Jennifer and Sam (played by Justine Weddell and Laura Jordan respectively) are both strong female leads and do an equally stellar job bringing their characters to life. Justine shows us the conflict Jennifer feels between finding her brother’s killer and becoming too emotionally involved in the case.

Dekker fans will no doubt be wondering how close this movie stays to the book. There is a subplot added involving a student named Henry (played by Kevin Downes of The Moment After and Six fame). The library explosion is missing, but it’s replaced with a refrigerator blowing up. None of the adjustments detracted from my enjoyment of the film. In fact, they only added depth to the experience. For example, the very first scene of the movie dramatizes the death of Jennifer’s brother, and unlike the book, Jennifer is actually with him. This scene sets the pace for the whole movie and helps us experience Jennifer’s anguish over her brother’s death in ways the book didn’t. For those who haven’t read the book, Thr3e is a thriller worth watching whether you’re a Dekker devotee or not.

Rated PG-13 for violence and some disturbing images, you might want to think twice about taking children, but teens and adults will find the movie up to par with the latest blockbuster thrillers. The spiritual take-away value is much the same as the book—nothing overt. However, Dekker’s Christian world view is evident, and one of the movie’s additions is a riddle about the verse in Romans, The wages of sin is death.

Thr3e will definitely please “The Forest Guard” (Dekker’s inner circle of fans) and no doubt send others to the bookstore to pick up his body of work. With a powerful storyline and a killer ending, you’ll be thinking about Thr3e long after the credits roll.

C.J. DarlingtonC.J. Darlington is the award-winning authof of Thicker than Blood, Bound by Guilt, and Ties that Bind. She is a regular contributor to Family Fiction Digital Magazine and NovelCrossing.com. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs, a cat, and a paint horse named Sky. Visit her online at her author website. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.