Who Dares Review the 23rd Psalm?
Movies are a lot like temptation; based on their synopses some films are impossible to resist. When a movie boasts “an investigation into the murder of a saintly prostitute,” could you resist? C’mon…a saintly prostitute???
Markhum Stansbury, Jr., stars as Detective John Smith in 23rd Psalm (2007; DVD release date: April 26, 2011). Det. Smith “is battling his own demons” until he investigates the murder of the prostitute and “renews his faith.” Smith may be battling demons, but he is also conversant in Bible passages, summoning up suitable chapters and verses for the odd occasions (he also works in a police station that has the nicest restrooms).
23rd Psalm is an idiosyncratic film featuring visions and floating captions that identify characters and Bible quotes. Technically, it fails the as-good-as-primetime-tv-drama test. Without high quality sound recording and cinematography, the earnest performances tendered by its cast are undermined.
Entertainment is not the main goal of 23rd Psalm; enlightenment is. It is a Christian film about redemption, charged with the task of spreading The Word, aimed primarily at an African American audience. With a miracle-working, Bible-toting, scripture-quoting, mind-reading “angel of the streets” (Arnita Champion) at its center, 23rd Psalm witnesses and testifies its way to the solution of its mystery.
The praise and worship soundtrack and the heavily Christian content of 23rd Psalm will appeal to a select group of movie viewers, but those who favor their entertainment combined with a message (or more accurately, The Message) will find it enjoyable and inspiring.