A young singer turns his back on God and his father's church when tragedy strikes. He returns years later to find the once-powerful congregation in disarray. With his childhood nemesis creating a "new vision" for the church, he is forced to deal with family, career and relationship issues that send him on a collision course with redemption or destruction. Set in the world of the African-American church and gospel music from director Rob Hardy (Trois, Trois 2: Pandora's Box), THE GOSPEL features an all-star cast including Boris Kodjoe (Love and Basketball), Omar Gooding (Baby Boy), Nona Gaye (The Matrix Reloaded), Clifton Powell (Ray), Tamyra Gray (TV's "American Idol" star) and Keshia Knight Pulliam (TV's "The Cosby Show") and the hottest names in gospel with GRAMMY Award(r) winners Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin, and Hezekiah Walker among many more!
is by no means a great movie, but it has enough heart, simple decency, and fine music to make it appropriate viewing for families of all kinds. Director-screenwriter Rob Hardy's story revolves around David Taylor (played in his adult years by Boris Kodjoe), a devout youngster who, disillusioned by the death of his mother and mistrust of his pastor father (Clifton Powell), leaves the fold and goes on to become a hip-hop star. But when Bishop Taylor falls ill and David returns home to find his church in dire financial straits and about to be taken over by the Reverend Charles Frank (Idris Elba), once David's best friend but now a self-promoting, money-obsessed hypocrite, well, let's just say that one needn't be an oracle to predict how things will turn out. So the dialogue is hackneyed and the story short on nuance (the title of David's big hit, "Let Me Undress You," is typical of the general lack of subtlety). What this modest film has going for it is a refreshing dearth of cynicism and pretension, not to mention a total absence of profanity, violence, and graphic sex. And in shedding light on an African-American church's place in its community, a role that is not just spiritual by financial, social, and more, The Gospel
also gives us some wonderfully infectious contemporary gospel music, performed by singers like Yolanda Adams and American Idol
finalist Tamyra Gray. In fact, the music might even inspire some viewers to check out the music of some of the genre's real-life giants, like the great Rev. James Cleveland. And that is high praise indeed. --Sam Graham