Abel’s Field review

Posted: February 6, 2013 in Film Review
Tags: , , , , , ,

AbelsFieldLeft motherless by tragedy and abandoned by his father, high school senior Seth McArdle (Samuel Davis) faces enormous pressure as he strives to support his little sisters. At school, he endures the daily bullying of the entire football team. But fighting back only finds him singled out for punishment and assigned to an after-school work detail under the supervision of the reserved groundskeeper, Abel (Kevin Sorbo). Much to his surprise, Seth discovers that Abel may be the only one who truly understands his struggles. As life continues to assault young Seth with more and more trials, he finds himself considering desperate and dangerous solutions.
“Abel’s Field” is an enjoyable and satisfying film. The field of the title is the high school football field, where so much of the drama of life in the small town of Sinai, Texas takes place. And it is this field – muddy, rutted and in disarray – where Seth must spend his early afternoons – helping groundskeeper Abel ready the field for the big homecoming game. But poor Seth has been dealt a bad hand – in fact, several bad hands one after the other – and he struggles to make ends meet working two other jobs, still going to school, while caring for his twin sisters. Abel becomes his reluctant mentor, and it is his influence that helps Seth make the right decisions when called upon.
The cast is strong, led by veteran Kevin Sorbo (of TV Hercules fame) as the withdrawn Abel. He carries the film, and the bits and pieces of his mysterious past, as these unravel, help to propel the film forward and give it it’s solid pacing. Samuel Davis does an amazing job as Seth, and he has us rooting for him from the onset. It is surprising to see this was one of his first films, as he shows outstanding depth of character and believability. And the supporting cast is strong, too, with nice turns by Richard Dillard as the football coach, and Nicole Elliott as Seth’s interesting (and interested) fellow student. A special shout out goes to Susan Mansur who lights up the screen. Her three short scenes as the local convenience store clerk are favorites – what a scene-stealer – I wanted more. What a stand out!
On a side note, the whole name game thing is unnecessary and a little confusing. Could these have been hold-outs from a previous incarnation of the story? Otherwise, I can see the only reason for the various names is merely to keep us guessing and only pulls us away from the story itself. And I can’t help but think the government would want to get involved in Seth’s case, but there is no mention of social services in the film. Granted, in the first half of the film, the dad is (wrongly) believed to still be living in the house. I do have to say that Seth is very endearing, so you want him to succeed (without the aid of the government), but no help (interference?) from social services is highly unlikely.
All in all, “Abel’s Field” kept me guessing (usually wrong!), so the surprises are enjoyable and refreshing. You’ll appreciate the bits and pieces as the story unfolds, leaving you with a satisfying conclusion. This is a faith-based film, but the gospel message is subtle and not heavy-handed. In fact, for most of the film, faith is presented as a questionable pursuit and unreliable. “Abel’s Field” is highly recommended.

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or
services mentioned above in the hope that I would mention it
on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally
and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance
with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the
Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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