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The Independent Critic

Robert Alexander, Gregory Humphreys, Lisa Justice, Dennis Weston, Kate Shinn
Grant Skellenger
95 Mins.
Skellenger Films


 "More Than Diamonds" Review 
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12-year-old Alexander wanted to be a hero, but the death of his father and the family tension and financial stress that followed got in his way. When a surprise discovery puts him on the trail of a stolen heirloom, Alexander calls upon the aid of an aging widow (Kate Shinn) and his Uncle Mike (Dennis Weston) to track down the heirloom. Of course, as any real hero will acknowledge, danger is right around the corner and Alexander quickly learns that being a hero will make greater demands on him that he'd ever imagined.

A modestly budgeted indie family flick from writer/director Grant Skellenger, More than Diamonds, is preparing to hit the home video market and should prove to be a popular choice among those with a strong interest in faith-based and fairly traditional family fare with only modest hopes of crossing over into a wider market.

More Than Diamonds is the kind of film that most of us who embrace a kinder, gentler cinematic experience. Less experienced moviegoers are likely to be more embracing of More Than Diamonds, a statement that may sound like an insult but is merely intended to note that experienced moviegoers, especially those who lean towards indies, will be more likely bothered by the film's acting inconsistencies and occasional tech issues. From a dramatic standpoint, More Than Diamonds features a compelling and involving story that will prove to be a decent view for both younger and older members of the family.

The film is most blessed by Robert Alexander's performance as the young hero, a spirited and touching performance reminiscent of Kevin Novotny's performance in Secret of the Cave. While the adult performances that surround Alexander are wildly hit-and-miss, More Than Diamonds remains watchable because of Alexander's performance and Skellenger's script.  Among the adults, Gregory Humphreys leaves the most positive and lasting impression.

The best opportunity for a successful DVD run with More Than Diamonds is with the burgeoning faith-based/Christian market, where audiences tend to be less concerned with tech and acting prowess and more concerned with positive values and life-affirming cinema that resonates with their value system. If marketed correctly, More Than Diamonds should have a decent shelf life and lead to additional opportunities for the promising Grant Skellenger.

D.P. Jesse Contreras' camera work is crystal clear and companions the film nicely, while Lanny Lanford's original music (also available on soundtrack) is spot on perfect.

The DVD packaging I received included no movie extras, a bit disappointing given that the film's target audience would likely enjoy learning more about the film's production and stars.

While More Than Diamonds didn't quite resonate on the level I'd hoped when first hearing about the film, it is a promising first feature from Grant Skellenger and a meaningful, affirming film that can be enjoyed by the entire family. For more information, visit the More Than Diamonds website.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic