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October 2005
The Gospel

By Wilson Morales
The Gospel

noya gaye

Distributor: Sony Pictures
Director: Rob Hardy
Producer: Will Packer Screenwriter: Rob Hardy
Director of Photography: Matthew MacCarthy
Original Music: Kirk Franklin
Composer: Stanley A. Smith and Fred Hammond
Cast: Boris Kodjoe, Idris Elba, Clifton Powell, Aloma Wright, Donnie McClurkin, Omar Gooding, Tamyra Gray, Nona Gaye, Keisha Knight Pulliam, Sean Nelson, Michael Pagan, Hezekiah Walker, Dwayne Boyd, Leland Jones, & Delores ‘Mom” Winans Screened at: Loews Lincoln Square, NYC


When folks think about watching a film about God, one might think that they will be watching some preaching tale about the Lord, especially when you think about a title “The Gospel”. Well, guess what, this film does talk about the man above but there are several “Hollywood” stories with messages that are universal and appealing. While the script and editing are flawed, “The Gospel” is still an evening’s entertainment with heart and soul. If anything else, the music is what will drive you to come see this film.

David Taylor (Kodjoe) always grew up as part of the church as his father, Bishop Taylor (Powell), was the pastor in charge. A singer destined to follow his father’s footsteps, things took a dramatic when his mother died and his father was away on business. Blaming his father for never being around in a time of need, David walked away from the family and church and years later would become a rising, hot R & B singer who has women coming at him from all sides. When news comes that his father is very ill, David decides to come back home to reconnect with his father and at the same time, see his childhood best friend, Charles Frank (Elba), who’s became a surrogate son to Bishop Taylor and is his successor at the church. With time gone by and egos hard to break, David and Charles no longer see eye to eye on how the church should be run. At the same time, David meets a church singer, Rain (Gray), who also has some issues of her own when her ex-husband returns home to reconcile their failed relationship. When it comes to matters of the heart, David has to decide if he’s better off leaving town and be the singer the public wants him to be or stay home and resolve the issues he has with his family and friends and uphold his father’s legacy with the church.

While the film certainly has some flaws in the story and editing, the message is clear and ever present. Director Hardy did his research in highlighting the full effect of attending a Baptist church with the choir and politics that goes on in maintaining an audience. The centerpiece of the film is the strained relationship between father and son, but not all of the stories in the film were fully developed such as the relationship between Elba and Gaye’s characters and the politics involving the church and financial matters; but Kodjoe and Elba hold up their own as the stars of the film, and the cast is equally impressive, especially Powell, who’s mostly known for playing wicked characters in other films, but displays some warm and very emotional scenes that’s touching. Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin does a good job acting in a very pivotal role, without having to sing one note. The driving force behind the entire film is, without a doubt, the music. Conducted by Kirk Franklin and with performances by Gospel greats Fred Hammond, Martha Minuzzi, and Yolanda Adams and others, their music takes the film to another level. At the end of the film, messages are clear enough to have you leave the theater with a positive and up-lifting attitude and wanting the soundtrack to rejoice.