I’m a big fan of Robert Amaya. I loved his portrayal of Javier in Courageous, especially the scene in the alley when he firsts gets the job building the shed for Adam. When I found out about his newest release, A Long Way Off, I couldn’t wait to see it. Then after interviewing Jason Burkey and Zoe Myers and seeing screenshots from the movie, I really got excited about it. So I was glad to have the opportunity to pre-screen it.
A Long Way Off is a modern retelling of the parable of the prodigal son. Writer Jon Macy did an amazing job at keeping the original Biblical storyline and adapting it to today’s modern living.
Jake (Jason Burkey) decides he’s tired of the rural life and the responsibilities that come with running Abraham Farms, so he asks for his inheritance then heads to the big city. At first everything goes perfectly as planned and he’s living a life of luxury, but the glamour of the fast life is short-lived when a bad investment causes Jake to lose everything. In the end, he realizes that it’s not all he dreamed it would be and he is welcomed back home by his father. I love the tagline for the movie – “The prodigal son. We all know one, have been one, or are waiting for one to come home.”
Perhaps my favorite aspect of the movie is a detail that most people probably never even notice. I loved the way in the beginning, the cinematography at the farm is bright, crisp, and colorful. The colors pop out of the screen. Then Jake arrives in the city and everything is black, silver, and gray, very stark and sleek. The coffee house, with friendly barista Summer (Zoe Myers), and the Christian book fair that she takes Jake to are the only colorful locations in the city. The contrasting color choices paint a visual distinction between the opposing environments.
There were parts of the story that I didn’t quite follow. Like why Jake sends flowers and pursues Laura when it appears she and Frank live together and are obviously a couple. And why, when he lost everything he couldn’t sell his condo or car to get back some of his money. Or why he couldn’t at least drive the car home rather than hitching a ride. But none of those really affected my enjoyment of the story.
The acting was good throughout with Jason and Zoe really shining. In my interview with Zoe, she described Summer as a “bit of fresh air”, and that’s exactly how her character came across. I loved Summer’s perky spirit and sincerity as well as her awkward innocence. In the scene when she goes to Jake’s party to hand him the newspaper, her uncomfortableness with the situation was so believable, it made me squirm for her. Then when Jake gets the newspaper and realizes what is happening, it’s like Summer has transferred her uncomfortableness to him and his eyes are suddenly opened to the reality of what his life has become.
A Long Way Off with be premiering at theaters next Friday, June 6. You can check out the website to find a theater near you. This is great especially for teens and young adults who may be feeling like Jake that life would be so much better if they could just escape to somewhere else.