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The Independent Critic

STARRING
James Bowie, Jami Harris, Fritz Green, Warren Mayer, Mark Brant
DIRECTED BY
Renee Michaels
SCREENPLAY
Coleen Frazer-Hambrick
MPAA RATING
NR
RUNNING TIME
88 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Independent
 "The Death of Kevin Frye" Review 
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Victor (James Bowie) is a man with a dark, secret past who finds himself falling in love with Jazz (Jami Harris). Unfortunately for Victor, those around him aren't as quick to forgive and forget and the past that haunts Victor may also keep him from marrying Jazz with the police hot on his trail and his former employers, Phineas (Warren Mayer) and Carl (Mark Brant) determined to get in his way.

Is redemption truly possible?

Can a person who has chosen one path ever really find hope of breaking the cycle?

If it's possible for a film to qualify as "straight edge," The Death of Kevin Frye may very well fit the bill. Dealing openly and honestly with the darker side of humanity, director Renee Michaels' directorial debut is a promising film that, despite giving plenty of indications of its low-budget indie cred, follows an intriguing story courtesy of Coleen Frazer-Hambrick, who also wrote the novel upon which the film is based.

For secular audiences, The Death of Kevin Frye will be a difficult sale with its unabashed faith in faith - an absolute commitment to the idea that miracles can happen even in the most unlikely of situations and strangest of places. Forgiveness is a requirement of living the Christian life, yet the level of forgiveness required in this film is extraordinary and, for many folks, would be unfathomable.

On the other hand, Christian audiences may very well struggle with the film's harder edges and darker tones that take a non-graphic yet stark and honest look at the lives lived by those on the wrong side of the street. While faith is at the core of the message in The Death of Kevin Frye, it's a faith that may seem hidden to some by the film's violent subject matter.

Yet, there's something to celebrate in a film that has the boldness to present a side of the faith journey not often seen in cinema existing as it does in the lives of those who may very well need faith the most.

There's no denying that The Death of Kevin Frye is a low-budget flick, its sound mix at times wildly uneven, camera work inconsistent and the performances a tad hit-and-miss, especially in the supporting roles. Yet, there are glimmers of light in The Death of Kevin Frye that will keep you watching the film even when the sound wavers or the lights dim.

It helps that Frazer-Hambrick has penned three involving characters in the persons of Victor, Jazz and Pastor Jim (Fritz Green), a seemingly far-fetched character whose own life has been touched by violence. These three characters are the soul of The Death of Kevin Frye, and they are well played by our leading trio.

James Bowie nicely blends grittiness with vulnerability, while Jami Harris's Jazz exudes a certain wonder and surrender that makes us completely buy into her faith journey while also allowing us to understand her openness to a different side of Victor. As Pastor Jim, Fritz Green brings to mind the steadiness of Stephen Kendrick in Facing the Giants.

Having played at the Barebones International Film Festival, The Death of Kevin Frye continues on the film festival circuit and is also playing in churches around Oklahoma, where it was filmed. For more information on the film, visit the Death of Kevin Frye website.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic  
    The Official Rating Guideline
    • A+ to A: 4 Stars                
    • A- to B+: 3.5 Stars            
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    • B- to C+: 2.5 Stars           
    • C: 2 Stars
    • C- to D+: 1.5 Stars
    • D: 1 Star
    • D-: .5 Star
    • F: Zero Stars

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