STARRING: Cody Longo, Walid Armini, Persis Karen, John Schneider, Shari Rigby, Cassie Scerbo. Written & directed by Jon Van Dyke. 118 minutes. Opened April 12.
STUDIO FILM SYNOPSIS: Living as large as any 20-year-old could dream, Caden Welles’ expectations of a never-ending party in India crash hard – but not as hard as his conscience when he refuses to help a starving man and his little girl. After he discovers the father has sold his daughter, thinking she is going to a better life, not one of slavery, Caden is shocked, unnerved and guilt-ridden.
Attempting to right his wrong, Caden’s eyes are forced open to a world few Americans know exists: the thriving human-trafficking trade. Spurred by a true purpose, an unlikely friendship, and the prayers of his mother and girlfriend, Caden leads an unlikely search for the girl.
REVIEW: ”Not Today” is not without its cinematic faults. At times early on, it seems stilted, choppy. And the lead is one-dimensional (in the opening scenes), and a little too unlikable. But the film turns a corner, becoming an engaging acknowledgement/reminder of an unbelievable crime that exists worldwide – human trafficking.
The acting also sparks up as if all before the camera were suddenly being directed, not just photographed. It eventually becomes a movie showing naive people coming face-to-face with injustice, not just an agenda-driven commercial for a well-intentioned organization.
Not Today gets us involved in the story and characterizations. What’s more, the film battles our indifference, our self-involvement and our cynicism. We’re Americans and, despite our foibles, of which some of our own countrymen think we have in abundance, we have a compassion for our fellow man like no other country. We are generous of spirit and, once made aware of a problem, we fix it. Or at least try. And occasionally a movie can be an insightful telegram.
Not Today presents the problem, and then suggests ways we can solve it. My advice – see the film. And before you attend, pray the Holy Spirit will direct you. Who knows, seeking ways to battle evil deeds could become a ministry for you.
Not Today receives its PG-13 rating for subject matter, but the content is handled discreetly as well as compassionately. There’s no objectionable language or graphic sexuality. The subject of what happens to little girls sold into sex slavery is suggested rather than visually represented.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – In addition to writing for Baptist Press, Phil Boatwright reviews films for www.previewonline.org. He is also a regular contributor to “The World and Everything In It,” a weekly radio program from WORLD News Group.)