Mike Newell's Amazing Grace and Chuck is an old-fashioned message movie about a very modern fear. The escalation of nuclear weaponry during the '80s produced more than a handful of post-apocalyptic nightmare films. This film is less interested in scaring its audience than in getting them to actively prevent these doomsday scenarios from ever becoming a reality. This is a film that does not exist outside its very powerful premise. There is a hermetic, fairy-tale quality to the film. If one thinks about the feasibility of such a series of events, it would be impossible to suspend disbelief. But there is real power and emotional involvement in the film while it is being viewed. Joshua Zuehlke has wise, soulful eyes that go a long way toward communicating the fears he feels. Alex English, a true NBA standout, delivers a strong performance as a man shaken out of complacency by his conscience. Mike Newell's direction is low-key, but controlled. There is a strong sense of inevitability and purpose in the visuals. The film is too didactic to be great, but its heart is in the right place.
by Perry Seibert review