JWR Articles: Film/DVD - The Falls: Covenant of Grace (Director: Jon Garcia) - October 31, 2016

The Falls: Covenant of Grace

4 4
119 min.

A thoughtful fade to white

The third and final installment of The Falls series is an ocean of calm and love in a world that is filled with so much conflict and angst—be that political, social or economic.

Co-writer and director Jon Garcia’s purposefully deliberate pace gives much of the production a slow-motion, dreamlike quality. The natural beauty of lush forests is at one with the leads (Nick Ferrucci as RJ Smith, Benjamin Farmer as Chris Merrill) whose relationship, now six years on, is more that of an old married couple than two men still struggling to find their inner selves and each other. What little drama there is (Curtis Edward Jackson’s appearance has the potential of driving a wedge between the two Mormons) gets snuffed out as fast as it momentarily arises.

The backstory is told very effectively so that viewers new to the series won’t feel they’ve missed any of the key milestones (wrath of the Church, a brief marriage that “cured” nothing, sibling rejection).

As beautifully shot as the film is, attention to detail in some of the scenes detracts a tad from the flow: imagine inviting folks over for a dinner (for a chat laden with candour) and serving up take-out Thai and no beverages; apparently, RJ has only one set of bedsheets.

The lovemaking scenes are also infused with caring, closeness and faraway looks rather than carnal passion—not a criticism as this level of mature coupling will, for some, cause uneasy doubt to their stereotype of gay men banging anything and everything that comes along.

Hovering over everything, of course, is the Heavenly Father and the Church of Latter Day Saints. Incongruously, the two men put up with scorn, false pity and ostracization (the threat of damnation looming large for all Friends of Dorothy’s) then pray for strength to put up with systemic oppression.

For them, everything works out fine, both opining, “I want it all [God, love, freedom to live as they please], I deserve it.”

The final scene is awash in white purity and an army of supporters (save and except for one still petulant sibling). If only the rest of planet could find the compassion that—at some point or other—lurks in every human being’s heart rather than bully, kill or mock all those who do not share their superior faith. JWR

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