A Damaged Coin
Several years after a Jack's (Tom Lodewyck) cop partner was killed in action he has changed career, leaving the force to become a mailman who when he returns home each day is dealing with a wife who is becoming ill. At the same time another detective is investigating a murder and his investigations lead him to one of the guys involved in the crime many years earlier which saw Jack's partner die. Then there is a husband who owns a towing company but is bitter that his wife cheated on him whilst she is sorry for what she has done and then there is Jack's girl feeling he loves her brothers more.
I tend to try and defend faith based cinema for the simple reason that there are too many people who rag on them just for being faith based and refuse to look past what they see as religious agenda. But once in a while you come across a faith based movie which you just can't defend and sadly "The Penny" is one of those movies where it is incredibly hard to defend because it gets itself lost in trying to be clever with one of those storylines where we have unconnected people seemingly connected by a penny which is picked up off the floor. That is the movie's first problem as the penny is purely a mechanism for linking sub stories and characters and has no real significance which considering they called the movie "The Penny" is frustrating.
But then what is just as frustrating is what the movie is trying to say which to me seems to be that whilst it may not look like it God is in control of our lives and things will happen for our good when he has planned even if it doesn't seem that way at the time. The thing is that it gets seriously lost in a story which seems to be trying to be earthier and at times it almost seems like it has forgotten that at its heart is a Christian message.
So on to the subject of "The Penny" being Christian cinema, well I actually don't think it works for either of the two categories I split them up in to. As a piece of evangelical cinema to bring an audience to Christ it is not in the least bit effective and is a real grind. And as a piece of entertainment for an already Christian audience is struggles to get across the message that God is in control especially as it struggles to identify who in the movie are the Christians. It means that it floats in limbo and becomes frankly hard work for not being one thing or another.
What this all boils down to is that "The Penny" just doesn't work and whilst I applaud writer and director Nathan Webster for trying to deliver a connected storyline with seemingly unconnected characters this needed some fine tuning to be effective.