It has Everything and the Kitchen Sink
It's been a year since Irene Steele (Lea Thompson) found God and unfortunately her family have struggled with it as her husband Rayford (Nicolas Cage) spends more and more time working as a pilot and her daughter Chloe (Cassi Thomson) can't rationalize why her mum would believe in a God when there is so much suffering. Chloe's suffering includes making a surprise trip home for her father's birthday only to spot him flirting with one of the cabin crew when she spots him at the airport. It is where she also meets the handsome reporter Buck Williams (Chad Michael Murray) who is due out on her father's flight. But some time after her father's plane takes off for London something strange happens both in the air and all around the world as some people vanish in the blink of an eye. As Chloe tries to make sense of what is happening on the ground Rayford and Buck find themselves trying to bring the plane in safely whilst dealing with the panic on board amongst the passengers.
There is one thing I could have put money on, there would be those who hated "Left Behind" for no other reason than because it deals with the rapture, as mentioned in the Bible. And at the same time I would have put money on some of those people proclaiming that this movie was just Christian propaganda and trust me I would be a rich man now if I had done so. Look if some people want to dismiss "Left Behind" because they have issues with religion or don't believe in God that is their thing but it isn't mine and whilst I have to say that "Left Behind" is seriously flawed it most certainly is not the stinker some people would have you believe.
Now I would say that whilst "Left Behind" takes it lead from Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye's series of Christian novels I wouldn't say for a minute that this movie is all out preachy. Of course there is reference to the scripture and people start to question their own actions when they realise what is going on but compared to some movies which have dealt with the rapture this is shall we say tame and certainly doesn't feel like it is trying to convert the masses.
Instead what "Left Behind" comes across as is an attempt to use the rapture as the basis for a disaster movie. As such on one hand we have Rayford trying to bring in a damage plane with hysterical passengers who go through all the emotions of thinking terrorists are behind it and then other far fetched conspiracies. And then on the other we have his daughter Chloe dealing with the disaster down on the ground as the planet is in panic and thieves are stealing what has been left behind. It is so typical of the disaster genre that not only does the movie climax in a ridiculous moment of heroicism but we also have a romantic slant as having just met each other Buck and Chloe are romantically involved. Now as disaster movies go I have to say that this occasionally feels more "Airplane" than "Airport" but I like the idea and various elements such as Chloe's soul searching as she thinks all her family have gone or were killed.
Part of the reason why "Left Behind" sways between the satire of "Airplane" and the drama of "Airport" is down to the acting which is extremely varied. You seem to have some of the cast such as Nicolas Cage and Martin Klebba going for satire with Cage in full over blown mode when it comes to delivering lines and looks of panic. But then you have Cassi Thomson going for the drama and I tell you what doing a decent job of doing it seeing that when people disappear she is the only character on the ground who we follow. And then there is Chad Michael Murray who seems to be straddling both sides so one minute we have soul searching nice guy who is dealing with the panic on the plane but the next he is delivering corn when he is in the cockpit with Cage.
What this all boils down to is that "left Behind" delivers everything including the kitchen sink; there is religion, drama, romance, disaster, soul searching as well as comedy. It is a ridiculously mixed bag which makes "Left Behind" seriously flawed yet at times in a bad movie way is strangely entertaining.