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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

I Am David

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Judy Thorburn

I Am David

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Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

“I AM DAVID” – IS A MOVING JOURNEY OF SELF DISCOVERY

Actor Jim Caviezel, who achieved acclaim for his role of Jesus earlier this year in The Passion of the Christ, may be the drawing power to “I Am David”, since he is billed over the title.  However, his role, though pivotal, is small with little screen time. The title, lead character belongs to a young actor named Ben Tibber. He carries the film with everything riding on his sensitive and touching portrayal of a twelve-year-old escapee from a Communist prison camp and how he is affected by the outcome.

Adapted from Ann Holmes novel, North to Freedom, by writer/director Paul Feig (the creative force behind TV’s Freaks and Geeks), I am David will draw you in from the very beginning to the lonely and dangerous plight of this child as he makes his way into a frightening world where he feels no one can be trusted. And, he has good reason to think that way, having spent most of his young years as a prisoner in a Bulgarian labor camp where he experienced the worst cruelty and suffering of humankind.

Set in 1952, young David is given information by an unseen, but heard, benefactor on how to escape the labor camp he has lived in, since being torn from his mother (Maria Bonnevie), years earlier.  Not knowing if she is still alive, distant loving memories of her are seen in short flashbacks.  The only friend at the camp comes in the form of caring mentor and fellow prisoner, selfless Johannes (Caviezel in another “savior” like role).  With only a compass, switchblade, a loaf of bread, and bar of soap to help with his journey, David’s instructions are to make it across Europe and deliver a mysterious sealed letter to authorities somewhere in Denmark, and to trust no one along the way.

The story is told through David’s eyes as he endures a daring adventure that begins after he climbs over the prison camp’s barbed wire fences and makes his way across the border to Greece.  First, he hides aboard a ship to Italy and is discovered by a crewmember named Roberto (Francesco DeVito) who is offered the handy switchblade as a bribe to keep David’s presence a secret.  The rest of the way serves up a series of intense incidents as David perseveres and tries desperately to blend in with the foreign people and surroundings, unaware that his unsmiling face sends up a flag to suspecting strangers.

In Milan, a hungry David has a run in with a baker (Roberto Attias) who calls the police.  But, using ingenuity and swiftness, he is able to escape from their clutches. Moving on, David saves a young girl, Maria (Viola Carinci) from a burning cabin and is taken in by her rich family, grateful for his act of bravery.  But, when they start getting too inquisitive, he flees.  Finally, he comes upon Sophie (the wonderful Joan Plowright) an elderly artist, busy painting the countryside.  She, seeing deep sadness in David’s eyes, brings him to her home in Switzerland where this compassionate woman, who has experienced her own personal tragedy, gradually begins to break down his guard and show another side of humankind with her kindness and wisdom.  Conveying the message that most people are good and not to stop living life is impacted by Sophie’s actions as she is seen helping David complete his personal and emotional trek towards freedom.  It was heartwarming watching David’s transformation from a scared, naïve child to a smiling person able to trust for the first time.

While I Am David has a few plot holes and fails to address some issues about David’s imprisonment, the overall storyline value is first rate.  And, if David’s journey doesn’t tug at your heart, than the surprise twist at the end is sure to be emotionally grabbing.  This is the perfect movie for the entire family, especially during this holiday season filled with the spirit of hope and love - things that need to be conveyed all year round.  People of all ages can reflect on David’s physical and emotional journey that sends a great message about persevering in the face of adversity. On that note, I Am David makes a Goliath impression.