Nimrod: A Story of Relentless, Unconditional Love

nimrod

Several years ago, I was given a script by an incredibly talented artist named Christopher Stout. It was for a short film that explored sexual abuse in children and its negative effects on sexuality in later years, and he was looking for investors to help make the film a reality. I immediately fell in love with the story, but since I was not at all familiar with such issues, I decided to get a second opinion. I gave the script to someone who is very, very dear to me who experienced sexual abuse as a child, and I asked her to read it. When she said that she loved the story, I knew it was time to invest.

The film was completed in 2005, and I was fortunate enough to attend the premier. The audience loved it, and I was both proud and honored to have played a small role in such a wonderful work of art. Recently, the author decided to release it on Vimeo to be viewed for free, and I want to share it with my readers.

I have filed this post in my “Christian Drama” category, although the film is not overly Christian in any way. However, I consider it a Christian film because while the main character is romantically in love with the leading lady, he models the relentless, unconditional love that Christ has for all of us. The healing that you see in the film is the same kind of healing that Christ’s love can accomplish.

Before you view this film, I would like to offer a word of warning. While the film would probably not even earn an “PG” rating in today’s film rating system, it does deal with sexual issues, specifically those that result from sexual abuse. Thus, it might not be appropriate for all viewers.

Nimrod from Christopher Stout on Vimeo.

10 Comments

  1. Benjamin says:

    I watched the film. I am fine waving the expected discrepancies of acting, sound, and lighting that come with a low budget film.

    What I cannot wave is the movie’s being rife with plot holes, plot contrivances, poor dialogue design, poor character design, and poor story design.

    With all due respect, why is your impression of the script and the film so positive?

    You find it justified to place this under the label “Christian drama.” How? I found nothing resembling Christianity or Jesus throughout the film.

    1. jlwile says:

      I am sorry you didn’t like the film, Benjamin. I thought the dialogue was excellent, as were the character design and story design. I thought the actors’ performances were amazing, but most importantly, I loved the message of the film. The girl doesn’t believe she is worthy of love. The boy shows her she is. In the process, healing occurs. This is all done in what I thought was a realistic narrative. As I said in my original post, a survivor of sexual abuse read the script and loved it as well. She specifically noted how she could see many of her old feelings about herself portrayed in the movie. She also thought the characters were realistic and believable.

      I would be interested in what you see as the “plot holes.”

      I consider the film to be quite Christian. I am not sure what could be a more Christian theme than redemption, and that’s clearly what happens to the girl. She thinks that what has happened in her past makes her unloveable. As a result, she hurts the boy over and over again. However, the boy continues to forgive her (dare I say 70 times 7 times?) and eventually shows her that she is loveable, despite her past. As I said in my original discussion, that’s a picture of Christ’s love for us.

      1. Benjamin says:

        “I would be interested in what you see as the ‘plot holes.'”

        At 10:40,
        This is an example of unrealistic stupidity in a character for plot convenience. This scene is unnecessary, unless the creator wants to give a reason for the booty call man to be mad at the friend later in the movie for lying to him, but this never happens.

        21:42 – 22:04, not a plot hole, just one example of the bizarre/unrealistic dialogue.

        “I thought the dialogue was excellent…”

        I am genuinely surprised, and now find myself in a bad position. Either I insult you by assuming you are telling the truth, or insult you by assuming you are being dishonest.

        I thought you’ve had experience with college kids, being a professor and all.
        Do you believe the dialogue in this movie is realistic, that college kids in real life spoke this way in 2005?

        24:15, not a plot hole, just one example of the oddities sprinkled in the film.
        Someone hangs up on a crying girl instead of asking her what’s wrong.

        29:40 and on,
        No legit porn company would rape their actors. This shows that whoever these people are, they are underground, dealing with some illegal, taboo porn. But if this is true, how does The Girl’s Friend know about these people? Has she been raped by them? Has she sent other girls to be raped by them?

        The Boy is seen running down a street. How he knows where to go, I do not know. Conveniently, he spots The Girl lying in the street post-rape.

        He doesn’t call the police to report a crime (rape).
        Instead, he walks into the building and breaks down one of the doors.
        How he knows which door is the right one, I do not know.
        After breaking and entering, he proceeds to assault one of the Bad Men, destroy their property, and try to get to their tape.

        Despite being outnumbered five to one (or maybe four to one, hard to tell with the shaky cam), the Bad Men can’t seem to control The Boy, so they stab him with a knife instead of knocking him out.

        The group of Bad Men, apparently intimidated by one guy, collect their things and leave, despite the room supposedly belonging to them (if they left because they heard sirens, that would be different).
        And they don’t even leave with the tape, the reason why they were there in the first place.

        This is where the audience realizes the foreshadowing of the beginning, but it appears forced rather than clever due to the fact that the stabbing was unrealistic.

        The Boy’s awkward and unnecessary sacrifice creates the impression of not so much a sacrifice as a consequence of being irrationally obsessed with a person who appears to be plagued by a host of mental deficiencies.

        The Boy is never seen charged with breaking and entering, assault, theft, or destruction of property, nor the rapists getting arrested.

        I could go on for another page or so, but I think that would be excessive.

        I cannot relate in the slightest to the main boy or main girl, so perhaps that’s one reason why this movie confuses me so much.

        1. jlwile says:

          Thanks for your reply Benjamin. I am not sure why you think you are insulting me. We obviously have different tastes in movies, and that’s fine. I disagree with everything you have written, so let’s just step through them so I can explain the details of the plot, which you seem to have missed:

          “At 10:40,
          This is an example of unrealistic stupidity in a character for plot convenience. This scene is unnecessary, unless the creator wants to give a reason for the booty call man to be mad at the friend later in the movie for lying to him, but this never happens.”

          This scene is not unnecessary in any way. The film has to set up why the girl is waiting and why they know she will be there. As is the case in most of these capers, the friend is involved. He knows the Booty Call Man (as is obvious from the greeting), which is why he knows the girl will be waiting there for him. He has to get the Booty Call Man interested in something else, which also establishes the shallowness of the men that the girl is seeing, once again demonstrating that she doesn’t think she is worthy of love.

          “21:42 – 22:04, not a plot hole, just one example of the bizarre/unrealistic dialogue…Do you believe the dialogue in this movie is realistic, that college kids in real life spoke this way in 2005?”

          Yes, I do. In fact, not only was I a professor, I raised a daughter who graduated from university in 2002. Thus, I think I have at least some experience with how college kids talk, and yes, I found the dialogue to be quite realistic. Perhaps you and I just have experience with different types of college students.

          “24:15, not a plot hole, just one example of the oddities sprinkled in the film. Someone hangs up on a crying girl instead of asking her what’s wrong.”

          Remember, once again, the kind of guys this girl dates. They are shallow and uncaring, which is why none of them are worried that she is crying and needs someone to talk to. Once again, this brings home how the girl chooses the wrong guys because of what she thinks of herself.

          “29:40 and on,
          No legit porn company would rape their actors. This shows that whoever these people are, they are underground, dealing with some illegal, taboo porn. But if this is true, how does The Girl’s Friend know about these people? Has she been raped by them? Has she sent other girls to be raped by them?”

          I don’t have any experience with porn, but as I understand it, rape scenes are common in porn films. That’s the way I interpreted that scene. It isn’t an actual rape. They are filming a rape (or perhaps S&M) scene. She is obviously regretting being a part of it, which according to those filming her, just makes her a better “actress” for the scene.

          The girl’s friend tells her how she knows about them. At 4:00, she shows the girl a “Coeds Gone Wild” ad. It was obviously made to be handed out, indicating that this is probably not a wholly legitimate company.

          “The Boy is seen running down a street. How he knows where to go, I do not know. Conveniently, he spots The Girl lying in the street post-rape.”

          At 29:03, the boy interrogates the roommate after rejecting her advances. The roommate tells him where she is at 29:36. He finds her on the street because she has exited the building he was told to go to.

          “He doesn’t call the police to report a crime (rape).
          Instead, he walks into the building and breaks down one of the doors.
          How he knows which door is the right one, I do not know.
          After breaking and entering, he proceeds to assault one of the Bad Men, destroy their property, and try to get to their tape.”

          Once again, there was no rape.

          If you remember the flashbacks, one of the aspects of her sexual abuse was being filmed. Those films still exist, and they haunt her. He understands that and wants to destroy THIS film, since he has not been able to destroy the others that haunt her. Once again, he knows which door because the roommate told him at 29:36

          “Despite being outnumbered five to one (or maybe four to one, hard to tell with the shaky cam), the Bad Men can’t seem to control The Boy, so they stab him with a knife instead of knocking him out.”

          He had the element of surprise. They certainly weren’t expecting it. The knife was simply a weapon of convenience.

          By the way, a “shaky cam” is a standard film technique.

          “The group of Bad Men, apparently intimidated by one guy, collect their things and leave, despite the room supposedly belonging to them (if they left because they heard sirens, that would be different). And they don’t even leave with the tape, the reason why they were there in the first place.”

          As you can see from the face of the guy who stabs him, there was instant regret. As is clear from the handout advertisement, this company isn’t totally on the up and up, so they don’t want to deal with the police. They are panicked, and they run.

          “This is where the audience realizes the foreshadowing of the beginning, but it appears forced rather than clever due to the fact that the stabbing was unrealistic.”

          I am glad that you caught the foreshadowing. The scene wasn’t unrealistic at all. It shows that one man, desperate to do right, can overcome great odds, even though there are consequences.

          “The Boy’s awkward and unnecessary sacrifice creates the impression of not so much a sacrifice as a consequence of being irrationally obsessed with a person who appears to be plagued by a host of mental deficiencies.”

          The sacrifice was not unnecessary. Because he loves her, he doesn’t want to add to the the pile of regret that she has with the other films. He realizes that destroying the film is more important to the girl than punishing the porn group. That’s a real sacrifice – doing what’s best for another with no thought of the consequences.

          Yes, being in love can be described as being “irrationally obsessed,” and because of what she went through in her past, I am sure she has “a host of mental deficiencies.” But, of course, real love doesn’t care. It’s relentless; it’s sacrificial; it’s unconditional.

          “The Boy is never seen charged with breaking and entering, assault, theft, or destruction of property, nor the rapists getting arrested.”

          Since there was no actual rape (just a rape scene in a film), there are no actual rapists. It’s quite possible the boy will be charged with breaking and entering, assault, theft, and destruction of property. However, that would probably come after he heals from his stab wound. Once again, because he loves the girl, those consequences don’t matter.

          “I cannot relate in the slightest to the main boy or main girl, so perhaps that’s one reason why this movie confuses me so much.”

          I understand why you can’t relate to the girl. If you have no experience with sexual abuse or its survivors, then you perhaps have no context.

          I am sorry that you can’t relate to the boy. In my view, he demonstrates what it means to have real love for someone else.

        2. Benjamin says:

          “This scene is not unnecessary in any way. The film has to set up why the girl is waiting and why they know she will be there.”

          I can imagine a different way this could have been arranged, thus, it’s unnecessary. In fact, if I tried, I could probably come up with a dozen different ways, none of them requiring the suspension of disbelief required from this scene.

          “Yes, I do.”

          Okay then.

          “Remember, once again, the kind of guys this girl dates.”

          It would have served the scene well then if the scummy guy over the phone started yelling at her for being too emotional or something, and then she hung up on him and started crying harder.

          “The roommate tells him where she is at 29:36”

          My bad hearing then. The dialogue audio is of high quality, yes?

          “By the way, a ‘shaky cam’ is a standard film technique.”

          You’re right, shaky cam is a technique. I’m glad it was used for that scene. Can you imagine that scene without it? It would have turned a drama scene to comedy, seeing a bunch of guys awkwardly grasp at one guy. The siliness of the fact that the main character was heavily outnumbered and yet magically overpowered them anyway would have been comically accentuated.

          I still don’t know why they left the tape, the reason why they were there in the first place. I suppose a single wounded guy is too much for a pack of guys to handle. And don’t say, “they left in a hurry.” That’s stupid.

          “The knife was simply a weapon of convenience.”

          You know what’s convenient? Outnumbering your enemy five-ish to one. Having a death on your hands is not convenient.

          “The scene wasn’t unrealistic at all.”

          The main guy would have been dragged out into the street, or he would have been knocked out, before the knife was noticed. And then the cops would have been called on him for breaking and entering.

          “Since there was no actual rape (just a rape scene in a film)”

          I missed that explanation in the move. Perhaps because that explanation is not in the movie.

          “It’s quite possible the boy will be charged with breaking and entering, assault, theft, and destruction of property… because he loves the girl, those consequences don’t matter.”

          “I am sorry that you can’t relate to the boy.”

          I’ll just let that juxtaposition set.

          Sigh… what have I gotten into. I’m such a big fan of you Dr. Wile… and now we’re arguing over a movie, something so subjective.

        3. jlwile says:

          “I can imagine a different way this could have been arranged, thus, it’s unnecessary. In fact, if I tried, I could probably come up with a dozen different ways, none of them requiring the suspension of disbelief required from this scene.”

          But if it needs to be arranged, that means something has to be done. Therefore the scene is, by definition, not unnecessary. Now…it’s quite possible you could have done something better, but until I see evidence for that, I am going with the scene in the film. Especially since I didn’t have to suspend any disbelief. The scene was very realistic.

          “It would have served the scene well then if the scummy guy over the phone started yelling at her for being too emotional or something, and then she hung up on him and started crying harder.”

          That definitely wouldn’t have worked well. To yell at her for being too emotional implies some level of interest. The idea is that she dates men who are so shallow that they aren’t even interested. That’s the message of the scene, and the way it was done communicates that message very well.

          “My bad hearing then. The dialogue audio is of high quality, yes?”

          Perhaps you should get your hearing checked?

          “You’re right, shaky cam is a technique. I’m glad it was used for that scene. Can you imagine that scene without it? It would have turned a drama scene to comedy, seeing a bunch of guys awkwardly grasp at one guy. The siliness of the fact that the main character was heavily outnumbered and yet magically overpowered them anyway would have been comically accentuated.”

          I see your point. It’s just as “silly” as David defeating the giant Goliath. It’s just as “silly” as Bruce Willis being outnumbered and winning in the “Die Hard” movies. It’s just as “silly” as Harrison Ford fighting his way through ridiculous odds as Indiana Jones. It’s just as “silly” as Matt Damon overcoming insurmountable odds as Jason Bourne. Surely no movie should have the person who is fighting for the right overcoming terrible odds! Why would any filmmaker want to do that?

          “I still don’t know why they left the tape, the reason why they were there in the first place. I suppose a single wounded guy is too much for a pack of guys to handle. And don’t say, “they left in a hurry.” That’s stupid.”

          They left in a hurry because none of them want to deal with the consequences of telling the police what they were doing there and how the five of them ended up stabbing a college student. In other words, they panicked.

          “You know what’s convenient? Outnumbering your enemy five-ish to one. Having a death on your hands is not convenient.”

          True. Once again, that’s why they panicked and left without the tape.

          “The main guy would have been dragged out into the street, or he would have been knocked out, before the knife was noticed. And then the cops would have been called on him for breaking and entering.”

          Just like David would have been killed by Goliath, Bruce Willis would have been killed by the terrorists, Harrison Ford would have been killed by the Arabs, and Matt Damon would have been killed by the Agency.

          “I missed that explanation in the move. Perhaps because that explanation is not in the movie.”

          Once again, you might want to check your hearing. At 29:10 (during the interrogation you missed), the roommate starts explaining what is happening to the Girl. Clearly, she has experienced that herself, and it wasn’t a rape, since she says at 4:02 that she did it the summer before and it “changed her life.” Since she is suggesting it to her roommate, it obviously wasn’t a rape. In addition, at 30:14, the person filming the Girl tells her that she is in control. Whatever she says in this room goes. Once again, then, it is clearly not a rape.

          “I’ll just let that juxtaposition set.”

          I hope you will do more than let it set. I hope you will think about it, because it’s an excellent description of what sacrificial love is all about. The boy wants to do the right thing for the girl, regardless of the consequences.

          “Sigh… what have I gotten into. I’m such a big fan of you Dr. Wile… and now we’re arguing over a movie, something so subjective.”

          I guess this just goes to show that similar tastes in science writing doesn’t translate to similar tastes in movies.

        4. Benjamin says:

          Thank you for the arguments. I respect your differences of opinion. This also just goes to show that even trivial debates could last forever.

  2. Jody says:

    I simply could not hear what they were saying. Would like to watch but even with the volume turned all the way up, I still couldn’t hear. Sorry.

    1. jlwile says:

      I am sorry about that, Jody. Vimeo has a sound control, as does your own computer. I wonder if one of those two sound controls was turned down.

  3. Marcia says:

    What a wonderful movie! It brought me to tears. Thank you for posting it.