I’ve been hearing about Vindication for several years as it made its way through the film festival circuit. Several of our actors were involved, and they raved about it. But it wasn’t until recently when I learned it was on Amazon Prime that I checked it out. I watched the first two episodes last week, then yesterday, when I woke up sick and stayed home all day, I binge watched the rest of the series. I couldn’t help myself. I was addicted!
I was blown away when I saw that it had a 4.8 star Amazon Prime rating with 174 reviews. Wow! Only 2 negative reviews. I don’t recall ever seeing anything like that, so out of curiosity, I checked out The Andy Griffith Show. It has considerably more reviews, but almost the same percentages.
Vindication is a crime show unlike any other I’ve seen. The stories are told in an artsy style with flashbacks seamlessly interspersed. The writing is top notch, pulling you into each episode and literally keeping you on the edge of your seat the entire time. You can’t look away for a moment or you’ll miss something. Vindication takes very seriously the rule that everything in a movie is there for a reason and nothing is there unless it adds to the story. There’s no fluff.
I watch a lot of detective shows and am pretty good at predicting the end, but not with Vindication. While I might have suspicions, I’m always pleasantly surprised by the final outcome. In fact, after an intense climax that usually has me bawling, in the end, I know that something will catch me by surprise, and I’ll laugh before it’s over. For me, that’s the ultimate test of entertainment – something that brings me to both tears and laughter. To do that in a 30 minute segment is incomprehensible, and yet they do it each time.
I think it’s interesting that Jarod O’Flaherty wears so many hats and manages to pull them all off with equal amounts of excellence. He is the writer, director, producer, and editor. He knew what he wanted to create and succeeds in making it work.
As cinematographer, Ron Gonzalez does a great job of bringing to life Jarod’s vision. He expertly captures the look of a crime drama with artistic angles and dramatic lighting.
The sound is a perfect mix of clear dialogue with background noises for depth. The score subtly carries the story along, adding to the suspense as well as the light moments. The blend of dialogue and music is exactly right.
The acting is spot on with every single character whether major or minor. I’m going to guess that a lot of prayer went into the casting as each actor was so precisely right for the role. I’m familiar with many of the actors and was excited to see familiar faces shining in their roles. I wasn’t familiar with Todd Terry or Peggy Schott, but can’t imagine anyone else in those roles. Seeing Venus Monique in the role of Kris made me a little sad because she’s submitted to our movies but we never had the right role for her. After seeing her in Vindication, though, I’m sure I’ll be seeing her in many more projects.
In case I haven’t made it abundantly clear, I lOVE Vindication! It’s what every Christian filmmaker should be striving for. It’s stories well told for a broad audience with the gospel message presented in such a way that it appeals to both the saved and the unsaved. I can only imagine a lost person stumbling upon the series and seeing real Christians, flawed individuals, dealing with real life situations.
I haven’t seen any curriculum to go with Vindication, but the series could make a great study to use with older youth or adults watching an episode and then studying and discussing the biblical themes in that episode. Since Vindication is made by a church, perhaps they’ll make it available in the future.
I’ve heard talk about casting for season 2. If you’re an actor wanting to be involved in a quality Christian project, you’re going to want to reach out to the filmmakers and find out about that.