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The Independent Critic

Frans Cronjé, Marié Cronjé, Ewie Cronjé, Leoné Pienaar, Morné Theunissen, Etienne Janse van Rensburg, Linda Alexander, Merlin Balie, Phil Liggett (as himself), Malcolm Lange (as himself)
Frans Cronjé, Morné Theunissen
119 Mins.
Word Films
Deleted Scenes; Bloopers; Behind-the-Scenes; The Ministry of Jacob's Well

 "Break Away" Arrives on Home Video from Word Films 
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When it seems like you've lost everything - use what you've got and let God multiply it.

From the producer of Faith Like Potatoes and Journey to Grace comes Break Away, an inspirational story inspired by true events around the recession that has left so many people without work. Weaving together a richness of humanity into a story that offers abundant hope and both practical and Biblical solutions, Break Away tells the story of Francois (Frans Cronjé), a former star athlete and current corporate executive who gets laid off from his job and unable to find another one in the hard economic climate. Forced to use what he has, including an old bicycle, in order to provide for his family, Francois begins an extraordinary journey alongside his "black sheep" brother (Etienne Janse van Rensburg), a local bicycle shop owner (co-writer/director Morné Theunissen), a pro cyclist and, of course, his family, Francois will learn that when you've lost everything you simply have to use what you've got and watch God multiply it.

This modestly budgeted faith-based film has been picked up by Word Films for a home video release on 4/23/13, and while this is Cronjé's first venture into a fictional story it should continue his history of telling stories that serve up entertaining yet thought provoking cinema.

Break Away, which was originally released under the name Baroudeur in South Africa where it was filmed, is yet the latest example of the faith-based film industry's willingness to tackle culturally relevant topics impacting daily life while telling the story through a lens of faith, hope, love and redemption. In the film, there are moments of tremendous despair, and while the film is ultimately and relentlessly hopeful it is a hope that is borne out of the deep faith that picks us up out of the darkest moments of our lives and leads us towards the light of God's love for us.

With Break Away, Cronjé accomplishes a few things.

First, he serves up a reminder that there is wonderful faith-based cinema being created around the world. While much of the faith-based industry seems to center around American productions, Cronjé's film is compelling and quite universal in its themes and lessons.

Secondly, Break Away may very well be one of the most refreshingly beautiful films to come out of South Africa in quite some time. The American media has this nasty habit of painting the most negative of portrayals when writing about other nations, and it's hard to read an article about South Africa without hearing about the violent crime or other challenges that don't begin to paint the true picture of the nation. In this film, Cronjé captures the everyday beauty of Cape Town and, perhaps in a subtle way, reminds us to remember that God's truth is far greater than the story the media often tells.

Finally, Break Away may do faith-based families and children a tremendous favor by vividly painting a portrait of what it truly means to be a hero through the eyes of God. To many, Francois was much more of  a her when he was an athlete or a high-income producing corporate executive, but it was when he'd nearly lost everything that we learn what it means to be a hero.

Inspirational, indeed.

Cronjé and Theunissen began putting together Break Away out of a bit of their own desperation,a  bit of a slow time following yet another delay in the planned Faith Like Potatoes follow-up that not only left them without a current project but also without a current income. Working with their smallest crew yet of 7 industry professionals and 15 students/volunteers, Break Away was very much a project grounded within a deep faith and passion and that faith and passion radiates from every cell of the film. While the acting occasionally feels a tad wooden, the story itself is so involving and the passion of its players so fervent that those who appreciate inspirational faith-based cinema will no doubt be glued to the screen and deeply engrossed in all 119 minutes of the film's playing time.

As Francois, Cronjé makes him come to life not by playing up the drama but by giving an understated performance that makes us realize that this is one story that is like so many other stories that have unfolded during the recession. It would be nearly impossible to watch Break Away without asking oneself "How would I respond if faced with this much adversity?"

"Would I really turn to God?"

"Would I try to control everything?"

"Would I compromise my values?"

I guarantee you'll be asking yourself these very questions.

The chemistry between Cronjé and Theunissen is obvious, and it's a chemistry that benefits the film greatly. Similarly, the presence in the film of other Cronjé family members only reinforces that this film has an authenticity and intimacy that sells the story on an even greater level.

D.P. Ivan Greyling's camera work is both natural yet exhilarating, capturing the beauty of South Africa in a way so seldom seen in film yet also never losing sight that this is a story that depends upon the human element. The music from Julian Wiggins and Jacques Steyn serves as a perfect companion for the film, while the entire production crew has accomplished quite a bit on the film's modest budget.

While Break Away is being released on April 23rd on DVD, you can already order it on Amazon. However you order it, this latest film from Word Films is one you won't want to miss.

© Written by Richard Propes 
The Independent Critic