In the 1950s, a group of missionaries ventured into the rain forests of Ecuador to make contact with the Waodani tribe, an infamously violent group who were on the verge of extinction due to their endless cycles of blood-feuds. The missionaries refused to fight back when cornered, and were killed; but later, their families followed in their footsteps to forgive the killers and live together in peace. Writer-director Jim Hanon has made this movie before, as the documentary Beyond the Gates of Splendor. It was a better film, as the excerpts from it at the end of this one show. There's some nice photography, and Louie Leonardo makes a strong impression as Chief Mincayani, but the wall-to-wall "inspirational" soundtrack is unnecessary, as is the constant voice-over narration. Nonstop talk works for nonfiction, but for drama, Hanon doesn't seem to know that less can be more. The true story is a powerful testimony to the wonders of faith and forgiveness; it doesn't need special-effects visions of angels or giant snakes to "enhance" it.
Director: Jim Hanon
Writer: Bill Ewing, Bart Gavigan and Jim Hanon
Producer: Bill Ewing, Bart Gavigan and Tom Newman
Cast: Louie Leonardo, Chad Allen, Jack Guzman, Christina Souza, Chase Ellison, Sean McGowan, Cara Stoner, Beth Bailey, Stephen Caudill and Matt Lutz