'The Song': Film Review

The Song Still - H 2014
Courtesy of City on a Hill

The Song Still - H 2014

You've heard this song before

A singer-songwriter finds his moral compass tested when he faces temptations on the road

Normally the phrase “Inspired by the Song of Solomon” wouldn’t be a particularly effective cinematic tagline. But that doesn’t apply to faith-based films, the popularity of which is becoming an increasingly important box-office factor. The latest example is Richard Ramsey’s debut feature depicting the moral descent of a singer-songwriter as he propels towards stardom. Couching its all too familiar tale in religious bromides, The Song is basically preaching to the choir.

Alan Powell of the Christian pop/rock band Anthem Lights plays the lead role of Jed King, the son of a late country music legend in whose shadow he’s spent years living. Struggling with his own attempt at a musical career, Jed finds himself reluctantly accepting a gig at a small wine festival. There he meets the vineyard owner’s beautiful daughter Rose (Ali Faulkner, Twilight: Breaking Dawn), whose heart he quickly wins by singing an impromptu song ridiculing her obnoxious ex-boyfriend.

Cue the resulting marriage proposal, with the smitten Jed even offering to build a chapel for the nuptials. And wedded bliss seems to agree with him, since it inspires him to write “The Song” that sudden makes him a star. But the ensuing incessant touring takes a toll on the relationship, especially after Rose bears a him a son that she’s virtually raising herself.

Jed’s virtuousness is signaled by his rude response to a sexy young woman who knocks on his dressing room door and acts flirtatiously. Quickly rebuffing her by declaring that he doesn’t sleep with groupies, he’s later chagrined to learn that she’s actually Shelby (Caitlin Nicol-Thomas), his band’s new fiddle player and backup vocalist.

The stress of being constantly on the road eventually causes sparks to fly between the pair. Soon Jed is not only committing adultery, but also becoming addicted to booze and drugs and, horrors, even getting a tattoo. His moral turpitude is indicated by his increasingly taciturn demeanor and the growing shagginess of his beard, as well as the frequent biblical quotes delivered in a heavy-handed voiceover.

Striking nary an unfamiliar note, The Song sluggishly lurches towards its predictable conclusion — spoiler alert, Jed sees the error of his ways — but it does offer some pleasures along the way. The musical performances, especially those featuring the vibrant Nicol-Thomas, are quite good; Kevin Bryant’s widescreen cinematography is top-notch; and lead actors Powell and Faulkner are seriously, seriously attractive, with the former’s heartthrob qualities indicating the distinct possibility of future starring roles.

Production: City on a Hill Productions

Cast: Alan Powell, Ali Faulkner, Caitlin Nicol-Thomas, Danny Vinson, Aaron Benward

Director/screenwriter: Richard Ramsey

Producer: Shane Sooter

Executive producers: Kyle Idleman, Tony Young

Director of photography: Kevin Bryan

Editor: Jared Hardy

Production designer: Benjamin Rodman

Costume designer: Daniel Hawks

Composer: Vince Emmett

Casting: Regina Moore, Vin Morreale, Jr.

Rated PG-13, 116 minutes