Propaganda films are nothing new. Film has been used as a tool to promote/push ideals on an unsuspecting public practically since the birth of cinema. Whether they be made to warn against the "horrors" of marijuana (Reefer Madness) gain support for the Nazi party (Triumph Of The Will) or serve the Christian agenda (God's Not Dead) movies are a constant tool for those who wish to not only change the way YOU think, but the way EVERYONE thinks. More often than not, they serve as laughable excuses for films that could only serve to inspire the simplest of simpletons to change their way of thinking, or, as is most often the case, to preach to the choir. The fact that there are those who will change their entire mode of thinking based on any of these films is both disheartening and frightening.
Mercy Rule is a 2014 "film" starring Kirk Cameron (Saving Christmas, Fireproof) and directed by Darren Doane (Who also directed Saving Christmas) The plot concerns the manager of a Waste Disposal site who finds himself in hot water when an environmental lobbyist approaches him, threatening to shut him down to to environmental concerns. What you may find odd about this premise is the decision to cast Cameron as the manager of the dump, and not the lobbyist. Surely, there's no way they could be making him out to be the good guy, right? Mercy Rule is bloated, inane, and above all, morally reprehensible. It portrays Cameron's garbage king as a decent family man who's simply trying to provide for his family. What's a little irreversible damage to the environment when he's just trying to feed his family, right? And shame on that nasty, evil environmental lobbyist trying to shut him down. If he shuts him down, he's shutting down America!! The movie's ideals are so ass-backwards that I genuinely felt uncomfortable while watching it. It has production values that would make something like Disney's Cadet Kelly look like The Godfather, and performances that are about as convincing as a Junior High play. The film also suffers greatly from it's length. It painfully stretches itself to two hours, with sequences involving the lead character's son playing baseball in slow motion set to irritating and repetitive dub step music. These sequences made for painful viewing, as they gave the impression that the filmmakers had no concept of editing, timing, or even film-making.
What bothers me most, however, is the film's message. The movie enforces this conceit that environmental journalists, lobbyists and activists are un-American, unscrupulous communists who try to put good, hard-working people out of a job. But the filmmaker's obvious capitalist, right-wing politics make every single frame a chore to get through. Barely a moment passes when we don't see the "Protagonists" either spending money or enjoying their luxurious, expensive home. The strong ideals mixed with the absence of any artistic merit whatsoever make viewing this film all the more difficult. What is equally troublesome is Kirk Cameron's introduction at the beginning of the film, in which he states that he was trying to make "A good, clean and wholesome film with good values that the whole family can enjoy." (Paraphrasing) Knowing Cameron's reputation as a religious zealot, I was expecting Christian propaganda not unlike Left Behind, Fireproof, or the already oft-mentioned Saving Christmas. What I ended up getting, was unexpected, and possibly even worse.
This movie is among the most heinous form of torture I can think of. You watch in horror as it stretches itself paper-thin, right before your eyes. If anyone's mode of thinking was truly changed by this film, I simultaneously scream in anger and weep in distress. The only change it had on my way of thinking was it made me hate movies for two hours. I got my love back shortly enough after. But if it were up to me in that time frame, I would have had the entire history of cinema erased in a heartbeat.