David Martyn Conley, Cara Sevier, Johnnie Faye Fernandez, Paris Crayton, Robert Nolan Clark, Demetrius Clay, Sean Brasfield
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
David Martin Conley
"Tapestry of Shadows," the first feature film from writer, director and co-star David Martyn Conley, is the story of one passionate and principled minister, Rev. Purejoy (Conley), and the choices he must face when he comes face-to-face with the devastating and tragic impact of youth on youth violence in the inner-city.
It's always challenging to review a film such as "Tapestry of Shadows," an obviously low-budget independent film clearly targeting the Christian film audience with little potential to reach beyond that specific target group. While the film frequently has the obvious attributes of a low-budget film, such as modest production values and inconsistent performances, "Tapestry of Shadows" benefits greatly from Conley's obvious passion for the project and his heartfelt performance.
Conley's script, while predictable, is nonetheless a powerful essay and challenge for contemporary urban churches and the choices they must make as more and more cities deal with increasing rates of youth violence. Conley wisely doesn't paint Rev. Purejoy as entirely saintly, but as a man who is ruled by his humanity even as he repeatedly surrenders himself to God.
"Tapestry of Shadows" is far more impressive when dealing with the subjects intimately, in 1:1 conversations and confrontations. It is during the scenes of intense confrontation, grief and despair that the performances become a touch histrionic and less convincing.
Living in Indianapolis, "Tapestry of Shadows" resonated for me in the way it portrayed this man who is utterly desperate to make a difference even when those around him either disagree or are ruled by fear.
As Mrs. Purejoy, Cara Sevier captures nicely the anguish of watching her husband make challenging choices, however, Sevier's not as convincing in projecting the vast changes that take place in the Purejoy marriage as her husband becomes more and more involved in the front line of fighting inner-city crime.
What truly elevates "Tapestry of Shadows" above your run-of-the-mill Christian flick is the often beautiful cinematography of Jay Kelley and the film's stellar use of gospel music, both as a dramatic accompaniment and to serve as a bridge between scenes.
Produced by St. Louis based Munirah Entertainment, "Tapestry of Shadows" is a beautiful example of Munirah's vision to create films that display the full spectrum of the human experience, primarily through the eyes of Black people. For more information visit the film's website at "Tapestry of Shadows."
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic