"God Works Through Flawed People"
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The story of Samson is a tricky story to tell in a movie format due to the lack of details and Samson’s complex nature described in the Bible. That said, the movie SAMSON offers exciting action and drama, and keeps many of the details intact, while taking creative liberties in other areas. SAMSON has a strong Christian, biblical worldview that honors God, but it contains strong, intense violence. Caution is advised for older children, including young teenagers.
SAMSON is a biblical epic and dramatic action movie based on the events of Samson found in Judges 13-16 in the Bible, set not too long before the time of King David.
In the movie, the Hebrews in Israel are under the rule of the ruthless Philistines. A prophecy concerning Samson says he will help God’s people defeat the Philistines, but Samson isn’t sure when that is or what that means. Samson and his brother try to help their people stay alive, since King Balek and his maniac of a son Rallah require debilitating tributes from the people.
Samson falls for a Philistine woman named Taren and decides he wants to marry her, against his parents’ wishes to marry a non-Hebrew girl. Rallah, with the help of his implied mistress Delilah, decide to help Samson and Taren marry as a way for Rallah to manipulate and control Samson. Rallah’s plan goes south after Samson and he duel each other with riddles. This pushes Rallah to threaten Taren, Samson’s new wife, and Samson is forced to go and kill 30 Philistines. Rallah retaliates by killing Taren and her family.
The feud between Rallah and Samson doesn’t stop there. It leads to Rallah also killing Samson’s father, Manoah, and leads Samson to kill 1000 Philistine men with the jawbone of a donkey. After these events, Samson is let alone by the Philistines for some time, but the Hebrews continue to be under their tyrannical rule.
Everything comes to a head when Samson is seduced by Delilah to give up the secret source of his strength.
Samson’s story is a tricky one to tell in a movie format due to the lack of details that are given and the complex nature of Samson as described in the Bible. That said, SAMSON the movie offers exciting action and drama, and keeps many of the details intact. For example, it includes the fight between Samson and the lion and the foxes he caught and used to set fire to the Philistines’ fields. Some of the acting is good, and even great, while other performances are quite stifled, and come off as cheesy due to some poorly done prosthetic beards and dialogue that is very western. Other than this, the movie is competently directed.
Unsurprisingly, SAMSON takes creative liberties with the story, such as the character of Rallah and his relationship with Delilah to manipulate Samson. It also compresses the time of Samson’s wedding feast from seven days to one night, as well as the number of times Delilah asks Samson the source of his strength. Delilah is shown to be more sympathetic than what Scripture implies, which is an unfortunate deviance. Any movie that attempts to tell a Biblical story will make creative liberties no matter what. What matters is if the movie stays true to the heart of the story, and, most importantly, whether God is represented as He is in Scripture, with no alterations.
Thankfully, this is the case for this movie. Samson’s strength isn’t turned into some magical power and is shown to be only possible through God’s Holy Spirit residing in Samson. This element showing the God of Israel being the one, and only true God is hit upon multiple times throughout the movie, and Samson continually asks God for strength. Also, God is portrayed to be a loving and forgiving God, who desires to see his people freed. Samson is a complex character, who at times shows strength of character and favor from God, but also strays and is deceived by following his heart regarding women. This is a clear warning and reminder of the dangers that come when we disobey God’s perfect and protective law.
SAMSON has some strong violence, but it’s not explicitly gory. Caution is advised for older children, including young teenagers. Otherwise, however, SAMSON is an entertaining movie that hopefully will encourage many people to open their Bibles and read them.
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