Monday, September 16, 2019

"The Frame" by Jamin and Kiowa Winans

I just finished watching The Frame for the third time on Amazon Prime. For the last three days I've felt compelled to watch it each night before going to bed.

Brilliant. Just absolutely brilliant.

Through taking many chances on late nights with movies I've never heard of, and sometimes ignoring reviews due to subject matter, I've managed to discover a handful of independently produced diamonds that I will forever cherish. The Frame has already permanently engraved its place on that short list.

With The Frame, I was initially intrigued by two things: that it was the next successive full length movie by the Winans's, after their altogether original and touching film called "Ink," and the fact that it either garnered 1 star or 5 stars on Amazon, with not a lot in between.

The Winans's themselves are to be admired and supported. I watched an interview with both of them, and their situation as independent film makers with no substantial Hollywood 'backing' thus far is sobering. No, they're not starving, but I find it odd how a filmmaker such as Terrence Malick, whom I also respect and admire, makes beautiful but much less accessible movies, and yet has considerable Hollywood money and many big stars waiting in line to be in his projects.

To that end, as there is no DVD to purchase on Amazon, I'm going to visit the Winans web site this week and buy the deluxe package for the sole purpose of supporting their exceptional work. They've made three full length movies in fifteen years, and I'm sure they'd be more prolific if the proper recognition were administered.

Their film Ink, released in 2009, was deservedly given 100% from six critics on Rotten Tomatoes. The Frame, released in 2014, has no critics weighing in on it at all on the same review site. I find that strange and perplexing, as they seemed to love Ink. The audience gave Ink an overall score of 81%, and inexplicably gave 70% to The Frame. Yes, Ink seems to have been more popular, and it is a great movie.

But The Frame is no Ink. Not even in the same ballpark. It is a far, far greater accomplishment. The Frame does no less than create a brilliant allegory that effectively addresses the mystifying, frustrating, bewildering and glorious relationship of Man and God. Winans pulls this feat off so well, apparently many Ink fans just didn't know how to approach the subject matter.

As for The Frame, so many details I could comment on. Things that were so clever, so inspired, so well thought out and so emotionally upheaving, that "mind-bending science fiction thriller" becomes a worst case attempt at properly describing the profound nature of the film. The name of the city it all takes place in is merely square one. But if I were to go on about all these things, I would end up sounding starry-eyed, and honestly, I'd also end up spoiling some of the shining moments the viewer gets to discover.

The movie is well made entertainment. But it's also an experience that either speaks directly to you and makes you aware of yourself as a humble, naked creation of God, or it befuddles you as you try in vain to decipher what on the surface appears to be a confusing cinematic journey. Quite an accomplishment for a film that is not considered a 'Christian movie.'

Jesus spoke in parables on purpose so that only those who sought truth would understand, and I expect those who appreciate this movie would share that same understanding.


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