long after I started elementary school, my mom took me to the Columbus
County Library to get my first library card. I loved going to the
library. It was quiet and orderly. And I could feel the potential
brilliance seeping out of the books that surrounded me while I was
there. The only thing I disliked about the library was the sign on the
librarian’s desk: LIMIT 5 BOOKS PER VISIT. Oh, how could they expect me
to survive on five books at a time?
The first section I tackled was
Nancy Drew. Then, the Hardy Boys and the Bobbsey Twins. By the time I
finished those, I was ready for Erle Stanley Gardner and Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle. Needless to say, I have always loved a good mystery.
Eventually, my taste broadened enough to also accept suspense and an
The first Christian author I
enjoyed was Frank Peretti. Followed by Ted Dekker. Yet somehow I never
Several weeks ago, when I was
asking my friends about which books and movies they would like me to
write about, my friend’s fourteen-year-old son suggested Thr3e.
He had enjoyed it and felt that I would, too.
In Dekker’s story, Kevin Parson
is an average guy. Normal. At least, he’s as normal as any other
twenty-eight-year-old seminary student. He’s living his normal life
just like everybody else. That is, until the phone call.
While driving home from seminary
one afternoon, in the most hectic of rush hour traffic, Kevin gets a
call on his cell phone from a stranger who calls himself Slater.
going to play a little game, Kevin. You have exactly three minutes to
confess your sin to the world. Refuse, and the car you’re driving will
blow sky high.
Without warning, Kevin is
plunged into the middle of a dramatic game with deadly consequences. He
has three minutes to figure out how to survive his unknown opponent.
Not surprisingly, the book is
excellent. Dekker is an incredibly talented writer. As in his other
books, the characters in Thr3e are complex and
real, not cliché. His story is enthralling and suspenseful,
unpredictable and fresh. The total package is a tight, enjoyable novel
that isn’t superficial. Where many novels simply entertain you,
Dekker’s novel turns over the soil of your mind and waters the seeds of
truth buried there. The reader almost inevitably examines himself and
learns lessons along with the characters.
you aren’t familiar with Ted Dekker’s books, you should be aware that
they aren’t for everybody. His books are intense suspense and
thrillers. If you like light-hearted fare, chick lit, or a major focus
on romance, you won’t find it in Thr3e.
was anxious about watching
this movie. I have such a desire for Christian movies to be seen and
enjoyed by the public that when a Christian movie is bad, it almost
hurts my feelings. But I had heard nothing about this movie in the
media or online (until I intentionally searched for it). And when I had
talked to two people who had viewed it, one liked it and the other was
pretty vocal about not liking it. When I pressed the PLAY button, I was
somewhere between fearful and skeptical.
I thought Thr3e
was a good effort. From a noncritical standpoint, as a plain old
movie-watcher, I really enjoyed it. Screenwriter Alan McElroy stayed
true to the theme of the book and crafted a suspenseful, dramatic
screenplay. I was most impressed with the way McElroy incorporated the
evangelistic message at the end of the movie by having Kevin Parson’s
seminary advisor, Dr. John Francis, share the truth that “we need the
power of God.” The gospel message is always a welcome part of a
Christian movie, as far as I’m concerned.
From a more critical standpoint,
it had some great strengths in the direction, cinematography, and
editing. The locations, the darkness of the lighting, and the
sparseness of the settings created the perfect amount of drama and
suspense. The acting was good. Marc Blucas was a convincing Kevin
Parson, and I was particularly impressed with the way Laura Jordan
portrayed his childhood best friend, Sam.
However, some weaknesses cropped
up in the movie. As always, significant changes from the page to the
screen were made. The only one I found unforgivable was the
screenwriter’s addition of a completely new character and story thread.
The screenwriter took valuable time that he could have spent developing
the existing characters and plot and distracted the viewer with a new
character, Henry Jameson. This new character jarred me, although it
probably would have been much less so if I hadn’t read the book. The
bottom line for me is that I would just rather have seen more of our
main characters: Kevin, Jennifer, and Sam.
has become my favorite Dekker book (at least until I read the next
one). And the movie was another impressive flick for Christian viewers.
If I had to choose between the book and the movie, this time I would
definitely choose the book. But if you are looking for a good Christian
suspense movie for date night, this is definitely one you should try.